25% of COPD patients risk depression, often because they hold themselves responsible for their condition. The guilt or shame of smoking interferes with their physical health, and most patients are readmitted to hospital within a month. An effective protocol for COPD treatment would include psychotherapy to prevent patients from getting depressed and relapsing.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may also be plagued by depression, compared with individuals without COPD. Researchers found that one in four COPD patients suffers from depressive symptoms. If left untreated, depression can lead to worsened health outcomes and even limit the effectiveness of COPD treatment.
Depression Risks For COPD Patients
In an alternative study of depression in COPD, researchers randomly selected a sample of 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with COPD and found that 22 percent of them had one or more psychological disorders.
Furthermore, that study also revealed that the odds of a 30-day readmission to the hospital among COPD patients were higher if they had depression, anxiety, or any other psychological disorder.
COPD is a chronic, incurable condition that affects nearly 24 million Americans. Depression in COPD makes it more difficult for patients to adhere to therapies.
The Reason Behind It
Dr. David Mannino from the University of Kentucky said, “They call it ‘the shame-and-blame game’ because a lot of people who have it [COPD] feel like they brought it on themselves and got what they deserved. Part of this is the message that smoking’s bad and no one should do it. That leads to the misguided interpretation that ‘smokers are bad people.’”
Researchers recommend psychological therapy as part of a standard COPD therapy in order to improve psychological conditions, which in turn improve overall well-being.