The good news is, you are not crazy. Depression is common among people who have chronic illnesses, like COPD. In fact, it may be even more common in those who experience frequent COPD exacerbations. Compared to patients with less frequent exacerbative episodes, these patients have a poorer quality of life, greater limitation of daily activities and a faster progression of their disease. Under these circumstances, anyone would feel depressed.
Until recently there has been limited information about the actual relationship between depression and COPD exacerbation. A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom (UK), however, shows a definitive link between the two. Published in the July, 2008 volume of the European Respiratory Journal the study investigated 169 COPD patients over a one year period. Researchers wanted to know if symptoms of depression increased during times of exacerbation and if depression was related to frequency of exacerbation. Their findings revealed that during exacerbation, the symptoms of depression for patients increased significantly from baseline measurement. Patients were also found to have higher overall depression scores at baseline, during times that they were not experiencing an exacerbation.
So, what does this mean for you as a patient? If you among the high-frequency group, you should talk to your doctor about being screened for depression, and treated if appropriate. Not only can treatment for depression help to make your feel better, it can improve your quality of life. Read more about the UK study or visit About.com's Depression Guide Site for more information about depression.