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Strategies to improve anxiety and depression in patients with COPD: a mental health perspective

Resource Type: Research Papers

This review paper examines the available literature on the well-established COPD comorbidities of depression and anxiety. In their introduction, the authors share theories on physiological ties between COPD and these comorbid disorders as well as factors that may predispose individuals to the development of these conditions. Included in their main review were 72 studies and 14 review papers. The authors: 1) cite the need for accurate and prompt diagnosis of both depression and anxiety; 2) note a lack of clear evidence for the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions alone; 3) report the definitive benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation; 4) cite evidence of both individual and group therapy in promoting coping behaviors; and 5) encourage consideration of relaxation-based and other therapies as well as multi-disciplinary and personalized approaches to care. Directions for future research are included.

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Tselebis A, Pachi A, Ilias I, Kosmas E, Bratis D, Moussas G, Tzanakis N. Strategies to improve anxiety and depression in patients with COPD: a mental health perspective. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2016; 12: 297–328. DOI: Accessed March 13, 2020.

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  • I think it's high time that it is recognized that depression or anxiety are not deadly, so if we find a relationship between COPD and comorbidities like depression and anxiety, possibly it's time to realize that they are not in isolation, but a product of lung function and symptoms.
    And not to confuse actual lung function based on PFT's. But rather to look at patient symptoms.
    It would be an indication of insanity not to have anxiety when there is a sensation of drowning, and thus, constant SOB will lead to what looks like depression. But it is not at all a type of depression that the mainstream of medicine looks at and that would be why medications do not help.
    If indeed they help for depression.
    So we can theorize why some get anxiety and depression, when really the answer seems quite simple. Take away the symptoms and anxiety goes away.
    Eventually for unrelenting SOB, the only thing left is morphine.
    We can theorize about receptors activated by SOB, but take away that connection and where does that leave us?
    I just think that the focus on anxiety/depression is looked at as a separate comorbity, when it should be looked at as an indicator of severity or function of lungs.