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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Asthma and depression?

(Shutterstock image)

American Lung Association has an email list where you can get updates about lung cancer, asthma, COPD, etc. Their latest "top story" (October 7, 2014) is about a link between depression and asthma.

They say that if you have any of the lung diseases listed above, it's not unusual to feel anxious, stressed, or even depressed.  They also say that 1/3 of people with chronic diseases may feel depressed. Here's a quote from the website:

"Sometimes you might notice you don’t feel like yourself but you are aren’t sure exactly what is bothering you. Undiagnosed depression can make it more difficult to manage your disease and has a large impact on your quality of life."

You can click here to find someone in your state that offers depression screenings. Of course talk to your doctor if you feel a "little off" or don't feel like yourself! :)

Most states (and also many foreign countries!) teach a 6 week workshop that helps you cope with having a chronic condition. The workshop was developed at Stanford University in California and is called Chronic Disease Self Management.  The class meets once a week for 6 weeks, and the instructors of the class MUST have a chronic condition (or a family member with a chronic condition) to be able to teach the class. That way, they "get it" - they understand what it's like to live with a chronic condition. They teach you to have the best quality of life you can! I felt so much better after I took the workshop! 

Subjects covered include: 
1) techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation
 2) appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance
 3) appropriate use of medications
 4) communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
 5) nutrition
 6) decision making
 7) how to evaluate new treatments

When I took the class, the book and CD were free, but you can also order a copy online if you wish.  

These workshops are taught ALL OVER THE WORDL!! If  you want to see if the free or low cost workshop is taught in your state or country, click here.

Help is out there, hopefully these ideas will be useful if you feel like you need help. :)


  1. Thank you so much for addressing depression!! It has been the elephant in the room and it shouldn't be that way. Depression is an illness just like asthma and it's treatable but because many people don't look at it as an illness, they incorrectly think that it is a sign of weakness or something someone can will themselves out of, it's not. I've had major depressive disorder (MDD) or better known as clinical depression since I was twelve (I'm 20 now). It started when I was in seventh grade and I had been bullied for years and on top of that, I was very sick. With no human to rely on (my family relationship was very dysfunctional), I slipped into depression and just didn't care about anything. My parents shrugged it off, and my episode subsided by eighth grade. It came back when I was 16 and I knew something was wrong because I had been sad for months for no reason. I told my parents I think I have clinical depression but they thought I was just being a hypochondriac. It wasn't until I talked to a trusted teacher about it and she convinced my parents to get me help. I was put on Zoloft and got therapy and life was good for the rest of high school. I had something very bad happen to me when I was fifteen and I was scared to tell my parents and I (correctly) assumed they would blame me for it and shun me. Freshman year of college, I hit rock bottom. Not only had my depression relapsed, but PTSD symptoms were finally surfacing after ignoring the evil deed that was done to me for years. I had severe flashbacks and would hallucinate both auditorily and visually the man doing this terrible thing to me and I would scream and yell, people thought I was nuts. My downward spiral finally came to an end when I attempted suicide by throwing myself in front of a bus. The police were called and I spent three months (including christmas) in a psych ward. My parents disowned me and my aunt and uncle became my legal guardians. I relapsed again last year because the Zoloft I had been taking since I was 16 stopped working and my doctor added abilify and I've been good since then. I attend therapy every week but I'm not ashamed. And I am on better terms with my parents ater they too sought mental health treatment (my who family is on antidepressants now) and I'm so glad things finally became better. It's still not perfect (and never will be) but my overall quality of life has improved immensely.

    1. Hey Nerdy Girl,

      Thanks for having the courage to share your story. :)

      You are right - people think that because depression originates in the brain, that it is all in your head.

      Some people say, just think happy thoughts!! Yeah, right.

      You wouldn't tell someone who was diabetic to just "think their blood sugar levels back to normal!"

      NO - they need medicine. People with depression may also need medicine.

      And most importantly, you also had someone to talk to about your past.

      Good for you for realizing something was wrong, and then asking people for help (and asking again until you found the right person who would listen and help!!)

      Take care of yourself!! :)