𝒬. What are the treatments available to reduce depression in COPD patients?
𝒜. This is an important question as depression is common in COPD patients. Little research has been done specifically evaluating the treatment of depression in COPD patients. We do know that in general, cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise and antidepressant medications have been shown to effectively reduce depression.
𝒬. Is it important for doctors to screen COPD patients for depression?
𝒜. Yes! Many times depression goes undiagnosed and patients suffer with this disorder without receiving treatment. Did you know that depressed patients are three times less likely to take their medications as prescribed?
𝒬. Is pulmonary rehabilitation one way to treat depression?
𝒜. Pulmonary rehabilitation may be sufficient to reduce depressive symptoms; however, this may not always be the case. In fact, depressed patients who enter rehab tend to drop out. Thus, it is key that depression is evaluated and treated by a qualified professional upon entry to pulmonary rehabilitation.
𝒬. Are there support groups for people with COPD in addition to EFFORTS?
𝒜. Yes! The American Lung Association sponsors the Better Breathers Clubs across the country. They also provide the Lung Helpline at 1–800–LUNGUSA to answer questions about lung health. The ALA also publishes an e–newsletter and offers a State of the Air App regarding air quality in various regions.
𝒬. Can medications for depression interact with respiratory prescriptions?
𝒜. Good question. Many people are taking multiple medications which may interact. It is important to consult with your physician around this issue.
𝒬. Do all COPD patients who take supplemental oxygen become depressed?
𝒜. This may surprise some of you, but NO, many people who use oxygen DO NOT become depressed. Many people learn to adapt to challenges to live the best quality of life possible with the oxygen.
𝒬. How about anxiety? Do COPD patients who use supplemental oxygen become very anxious about this adjustment?
𝒜. Some people become anxious about wearing their oxygen, but many become more comfortable when they realize that the oxygen allows them to do more and to focus on their goals and what matters in their lives; not others’ judgments. In fact, some people use the oxygen to be good role models for other patients.
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These FAQs are intended for educational purposes only. The FAQs are not meant to replace medical advice nor to provide specific advice to the participants regarding any type of mental health or medical condition. If you are having a medical or mental health emergency you need to immediately call 911 or go to an emergency room. The information in these FAQs should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan or course of action and cannot replace the advice of your physician.
Dr Buckley is unable to respond to individual questions or give specific advice around a particular issue. Her responses provide general information based on a compilation of questions and comments presented by EFFORTS members.