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Depression and anxiety in patients with COPD

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Abebaw M Yohannes1 and George S Alexopoulos2

In the past two decades, there has been increasing recognition that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with three or more comorbidities are more likely to be frequently hospitalized and may die prematurely compared to COPD patients without comorbidities [1]. Of such comorbidities, anxiety and depression contribute to a substantial burden of COPD-related morbidity, notably by impairing quality of life and reducing adherence to treatment [2]. Untreated and under-recognized depression and anxiety symptoms in patients with COPD have deleterious effects on physical functioning and on social interaction, increases fatigue and healthcare utilization [3,4]. Depression and anxiety are challenging to identify and treat because their symptoms often overlap with those of COPD [5]. Identifying depression, anxiety, and developing appropriate treatment strategies are critical to improve COPD patients’ quality of life and reducing healthcare utilization. This editorial synthesizes the current understanding of the prevalence and potential mechanism of association, and discusses implications for treatment in patients with COPD with comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms.

Resource: Eur Respir Rev. 2014 Sep; 23(133): 345–349.