Asthma, Depression and Anxiety

Asthma is seldom a stand-alone condition. It is related to allergy and other allergic diseases in most people. But, asthma can be associated with other, non-allergic conditions as well.

Any chronic illness can have significant impact on mood and even mood disorders. Depression itself, occurs in many people with chronic diseases. Asthma, in this regard, is no exception. It has long been known that asthma, and other allergic diseases, are directly associated with depression and even anxiety. This is probably not just because these are chronic illnesses, but rather the inflammation noted in allergic diseases, including asthma, appears to contribute to depression and anxiety. A recent study highlighted the potential reverse risk as well – that of depression or anxiety as traits associated with an increased risk of asthma attacks in people with severe asthma.

So, it seems that mood disorders such as anxiety and especially depression can be driven in some part by asthma. If you have asthma and find yourself to be struggling with anxiety or depression, asthma and allergic diseases may be contributing. But remember, if the depression and anxiety are not treated, they may be associated with an increased risk of asthma attacks.

In the individual with asthma in whom depression or anxiety are a problem, perhaps part of the asthma treatment plan should be a directed effort to treat the associated mood disorder(s) as well.

If you have questions about whether your asthma is associated with a depression or anxiety, contact your allergist or primary care provider.