Chronic illnesses such as COPD often cause anxiety, which can worsen symptoms over time. This is because breathing becomes increasingly difficult as lung blockages progress, causing the brain to perceive a stressful situation even if one does not exist. As a result, individuals with COPD may experience higher rates of anxiety and depression than those without the condition.
Despite this, emotions are often overlooked in the treatment and care of patients with COPD. However, recent studies have shown that treating both physical and emotional health can have a significant impact on outcomes for those with congestive heart failure.
Dr. Victor Kim, a pulmonologist at Temple Health, emphasizes the importance of COPD patients acknowledging their anxiety and speaking with their doctors about it. He suggests several coping strategies, education on breathing techniques, and different maneuvers to improve breathing during episodes of shortness of breath. Additionally, joining a support group can provide COPD patients with a sense of community and a platform for learning and sharing strategies for managing their disease.
It’s crucial for COPD patients to recognize that their anxiety is not just in their head and to seek support from healthcare professionals to address it properly. By doing so, they can improve their overall quality of life and better manage their disease symptoms.