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Psychological affects of asthma

I'm not sure really of the point I'm making here, so feel free to ignore, I'm trying to use this as much to understand the issue/if there is an issue for myself.

Does anyone have experience of negative psychological affects - depression, anxiety, fear, general unease - directly related to or resulting from their asthma either ongoing or in terms of specific attacks, hospitalisations etc.?

Normally I kinda just get on with it and won't let it get to me, but I've lost it this time, I came out of hospital last night and was shaking with fear last night, but over nothing specific and I keep bursting into tears today. I did talk to my GP but she just said it sounded normal after a frightening experience. That didn't help much, plus the frightening experience has passed, so why still have this horrible sense of fear?

I had an attack walking back from the GPs and found it difficult to focus on dealing with because I was also dealing with being in tears and a really overwhelming general sense of something wrong/bad/frightening happening.

Has anyone had experiences like this? Is it 'normal' as my GP says? And if so does it go away? This follows the worst attack and longest hospitalisation I've had - is that why this has happened? Will things go back to normal? I don't like feeling like this.

7 Replies

Hi Ratty

I completely understand where you are coming from. Having asthma that at times tends to be a little severe unpredictable can be a very depressing experience, and many times I have felt like I don't want to live as I felt my quality of life was compromised (though I am receiving treatment for depression, this isn't solely based on asthma issues). However, on the topic of feeling ""a bit weird"" when coming out of hospital I can completely relate to. Although admissions for my asthma are frequent, they don't last long enough to have a real psychological effect on me, but after I was in hospital for 3 months almost 3 years ago, most of it in ICU, I was told there was a possibility I had mild Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as the experience shook me up so much, although at the time I thought I coped fine.

Try the university counselling centre (contact them from the Strand) they are really nice and may be able to help you. Also feel free to PM me if you want to chat

Emz x


hi ratty

I totally understand how you are feeling. I was in hospital almost all year last year with brief periods of 7-10days at home in between long periods on 'the inside' it was at times very frightening and i had several very severe attack a few of which i was ventilated.

I currently take antidepressents as i was actively depressed after the whole experience. Even though i have only had 7 admissions this year i still get very fearful and teary at times. I know that the stress is counterproductive as it sometimes makes my asthma worse but i cant help it at times i just get overwhelmed. It has got a little better since i discussed things with a very supportive gp which can be the key really. She refered me to a counciller who has really really helped me. Dont feel that you should do it all on your own and do ask for help.

Please feel free to PM me if you need to chat about anything.

Take care of yourself. Lotsa lv kat Xx


Hi there Ratty...how you feeling now??

One thing you simply must remember is that all sufferers feel like you at some point. Lots of things go through our minds, a feeling of helplessness is but one. Medication dosnt help psychologically, as they create secondary problems such as sugar irregularity (flaming steriods!!), depression, weight gain etc etc....

I get very low sometimes, and even after lossing my daughter to asthma, I cant believe so many of us have to suffer with this condition in this day and age.

Over the past few years, I have noticed I stay away from crowded places or going to places Im not sure of. I get uneasy about being around strangers incase I cough and wheeze. Sounds silly to my family.

The last serious attack I had was in August 09, about a month before my daughter died. I started crying as I felt Id lost control. The 'stupid' ambulance woman told me I had swine flu - and simply discharged me! Half hour later, my daughter was then driving me to the hospital to get some urgent help, and as I really couldnt breath, it put both of us under alot of strain. I then spent 4 days in hospital.

Ive spent months at a time in hospitals, as Im sure so many others have on here to. And your G.P is right, it is 'normal' to feel the way you do. Its scary, cruel, unforgiving and completely wicked, but seems our task to face it in this life. What we can do is to give each other support and care. In knowledge we find strength and in sharing that knowledge it gives us wisdom.

You will learn to 'deal with it' in your own way, perhaps by learning as much about your condition as possible and how it affects you. Every single one of us is affected slightly differently.

Maybe being hospital for a spell has forced you to think about your asthma, which you find difficult. Being tired and unwell will automatically make you feel depressed. They are awfull places to be at the best of times. I drive my consultant potty when Im on his ward. He knows how much I hate being there!

Life will be noramly Ratty soon. Youve had a terrible shock and sometimes shocks take longer to register than others can.

Take care of yourself - rest, surround yourself with positive people and you will soon recover from your nightmare x x


hi ratty

I can totally understand how you are feeling after my worst attack and being told how bad i had been hit me too i felt low for a day or too but getting back to how i was before

hope you start to feel better soon


hope you are feeling a little better.if you keep thinking of things might be best wright them down and the next day re read it and wont seem so bad and bin it.

Think we all get the same problem at times but by trying to stay positive and ask for help when needed even someone to talk to on here or family or doctor will help you over come your fears and handle things better .pm me anytime to chat even if you feel rough you will not feel alone.

Make sure you have a little me time and give your self a nice treat to help give you a lift.

lots of love Glynis xxxxx


I know exactly how you feel, i've had depression and ED's in the past and these were all when the asthma was quite mild - i saw a counscellor and the problem got a lot better and i was discahrged from CAMHS and had had no problems since. After the asthma toook a severe turn for the worse the problems gradually began to reemerge and i've had to go back on the anti-depressants. The physciatrist was quite sure the relapse had been because of the loss of control through the asthma. I would definitley try and see some kind of counsller.



Thank you so much everyone for sharing your experiences and feelings of something that is difficult to talk about and something that I feel is sometimes ignored when asthma is treated first and foremost medically and other aspects sidelined.

I think I do need to ensure I talk to someone with some experience who can help me. For some reason this has triggered 'memories' (which I didn't think I had) of intubation/ICU many years ago which have left me very very frightened.

I've been doing the 'what ifs' too which is not a good place to go. I was 'lucky' that I was already at the hospital. It scares me that I might not have been and might not have been able to get help. I need to somehow get myself out of thinking like that.

Thanks again - I really appreciate you all sharing your experiences and knowing from people who know that this is normal. Without offence to any medical people here there is a world of difference from quite abruptly being told 'sounds normal' from a GP where it comes across as 'and your problem is...??' (well it did in this case) and an understanding 'sounds normal' from those who have experienced feeling like this.


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