• Health: Depression And Asthma

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    A lot of people with asthma, depression, or both, respond well to treatment and there’s a lot of support available to you. The organisations listed at the end of this fact file can offer you further help and advice.

    When a person has asthma, a bout of depression or anxiety can trigger attacks and make the disease much harder to manage, according to recent research. Studies have found that asthmatic children suffering from psychological distress need higher doses of medication and spend more time in the hospital than other children with asthma. “When I see patients who are having severe attacks, I always ask them, ‘What's gone wrong in your life?'” says H. James Wedner, chief of allergy and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Almost invariably, he notes, the attacks go hand in hand with stressful events or emotional distress.

    Why does depression trigger attacks of asthma?

    Nobody knows exactly why asthma seems to thrive on psychological distress. Both anxiety and depression disturb the body's normal balance of hormones and brain chemicals, and this disruption might somehow set the stage for the disease. Once a person …

    Finally, depression may take a toll by sapping people's ability to care for themselves. Asthma patients who feel helpless might not see the point of monitoring their breathing and taking medication. Conversely, if these patients (or their parents) are overly anxious, the result may be too many medications and unnecessary trips to the emergency room.

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