COPD transforms your body and life; persistent breathlessness, weight loss, sleep disturbances, eating problems, and fatigue are just some of the changes your body is put through. It’s scary to feel like you’ve lost your breath and it’s tough to not be able to do what you once did. Not surprisingly, these physical changes can trigger some emotional changes as well.
Frustration, feelings of loss, anger, regret, and sadness are all completely normal feelings to experience when coping with COPD. You may even experience clinical depression. Studies estimate that almost 40% of people with COPD suffer from depression.
Some of the hallmark symptoms of depression include a persistent “empty” or sad mood, lethargy, and feelings of hopelessness. These type of symptoms, as you can imagine, can really impede someone’s ability to take care of themselves and effectively manage a serious health condition like COPD. Depression can get in the way of you following your treatment plan, which can worsen your condition.
Depression is a common experience for someone faced with a chronic, progressive condition like COPD. If you think you maybe be experiencing depression along with COPD, don’t keep it under wraps. You are not alone. Talk with your doctor so you can work together to figure out a treatment plan.
Many antidepressant medications can interfere with COPD medications but there are a few varieties that can work in conjunction. Medication is part of treatment for some people with depression, but not all. Beyond medication, there are some other ways to cope with depression. Exercising, joining a support group, and talk therapy are other strategies that some people use to get their depression under control.
You can’t get back the exact lifestyle you had before COPD, but with some work you can take positive steps to try and regain control and live a good life.
If you or a loved one are coping with COPD, consider learning more about Burlington Lung Clinic’s clinical research study opportunities by submitting your info below.