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Help please from anyone with knowledge of psychological issues in survivors of early onset brittle asthma

early onset onset brittle asthma my grandson now 22 has been asthmatic since 4 months old. Anyone else with a child struggling to survive this condition will know the roller coaster involved in his survival. as a young adult he now has some worrying psychological issues and we wonder if others who were treated with large doses of steroids in various forms and many other meds have similar issues and is there any research evidence available to support this theory.

7 Replies

Very sorry to hear this. It is not surprising that brittle asthmatics may have psychological issues including anxiety and depression especially what they go through. How is your grandson now asthma wise?


I can only talk about my experience since the early 1960s when I was given high doses of injected steroids every week as a child, and have been on loads of inhaled steroids, and oral steroids ever since. I don't remember my childhood because I was drugged up with sedating antihistamines. I was covered from head to toe in Eczema. The best treatment I had as a child was the weekly Physiotherapist sessions including breathing exercises. It is well known and now recognised that people with Severe Asthma tend to suffer with Anxiety, not surprising really, when you don't know what to expect tomorrow, will you be able to breathe? Will there be someone there wearing strong perfumes or aftershave? Is there dust in the air? Oh, and just the sheer tiredness of it all, the worrying, not being in control of your surroundings. They used to think that Anxiety caused Asthma. They now know that Anxiety makes Asthma worse, and therefore needs to be tackled. There are specialists who deal with Anxiety associated with long-term health conditions, and it might be an idea for you to look into that? As a survivor myself I would be interested in hearing more. Unfortunately oral steroids are a necessary evil which cannot be avoided, otherwise his lungs could be permanently damaged, and he does not want that. If you like, send me a message. It is good to talk. Asthma UK helpline may also be able advise re research evidence. Best wishes



I am writing an article about asthma and mental health for the Trauma and Mental Health Report, as it is a very important issue for myself. I was wondering if I could receive your permission to include a quote from yourself in the article. Your identity would be protected and instead I would use "a forum member".

Here is the link to the Trauma and Mental Health Report: trauma.blog.yorku.ca

Thank you so much.



Hi rhodaalso ,

Sorry to hear about your grandson struggling. Severe asthma can be unpredictable to manage and steroid tablets along with inhalers, in the long term, are often prescribed to help keep this under control. Some people do experience side effects depending on what steroid they are on and how long. bit.ly/2tZCSJs

So it’s important for him to make an appointment and speak to his GP so they can do a medication review to discuss how he’s feeling to help him manage side effects, or reduce his risk of having them and talk about ways to manage mood.

If you would like more advice and support then please feel free to give our nurses team a ring or pass the number onto your grandson on 0300 222 5800 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).

Take care,


1 like

thanks so much everyone. Grandson's asthma is now pretty well controlled. His main issues now are mental health in nature. since yesterday I have managed to locate the Consultant who in conjuction with his Mum kept him alive through many life threatening collapses. He is involved in Researching childhood asthma and did keep grandson on for research issues but that ended a couple of years ago. I have no problem in knowing he will be able to answer our queries. I will post a wee letter to tell you how it goes. Asthma runs in my family. Mum, brother, grandson and me. Grandson however had life threatening episodes from age 4 months.


Hello, hope things get better soon. Is he active? Things like going to the gym and work with weights on mild programme or if asthma is under control then running, also cycling road/racing bike is big fun. It will bring confidence, motivation, happiness.


Hi there Rhonda. I have first hand understanding. First of all I am 62 and have had breathing problems from since I can remember. Special schools and all that. Being a sufferer from an early age is more accepted by the sufferer because we don't know what taking a real breath is like. Yes I do think the drugs affect mood. Mum used to joke and say she wondered who I was going to be today. This issue has only just been addressed. I have been told that my drugs do have the tendency to make one more depressed. I have been given different types of depression medication because more recently I found a need for them due to a family circumstance. Over the years I have survived but still find it a struggle. My best ever peak flow is 250 but that's on large amounts of steroids. My norm is 100 to 150. I can cope albeit I am slow and sometimes very frustrated. I am practicing aroma therapy and it's amazing. Wish I had heard of this before. They are NOT perfumes they are natural essential oils which not only smell amazing but give me such a lift in a natural synergetic way. It's been trial and error for me but I will be a qualified aromatherapist because of it in the very near future. These might me an answer for your problem BUT you MUST seek advice from a health professional. There are lots of home remedies on line should you want to look and Robert Tisserand is up there with the best! Good luck. Sending lots of blessings and prayers. Xx


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