Does depression go with copd

I'm just putting this out there laying in bed wide awake worrying. I had a course of steroids and antibiotics and now on second lot because I'm still not right, had to take days off work been to GP twice in two weeks who told me after chest X-ray no infection and listened to my chest with stethoscope still no infection - which is good news but why i am still struggling and been told to take second lot? I'm absolutely exhausted can't cough up anything even though after they gave the tablets to loosen it up when i do manage to cough up thick mucus it's green! I'm not sleeping and now i just feel depressed (saying that i used to take a low dose of anti depressants and came off them in the summer)

My thoughts are different and i am feeling very down now to the extent i feel i need to go back on my anti depressants ( i can't seem to shake off my down feelings ) i am worried about my breathing now and i wasn't worried before - i just tried to exercise and keep healthy but in the last month i am really worried that i am getting worse!

I had PR assessment and was told i didn't need it which perked me up but not being able to get rid of this infection which i believe i have is making me worse!

Any advice? I am thinking about going back to GP again to explain what's going on with me

40 Replies

  • Sounds like a good idea to me. Tell them what you've said in this post. You've obviously tried to take a positive attitude to your problems but COPD can be associated with depression, as can, I believe, treatment with steroids. And it usually helps to talk to someone. Best of luck.

  • It's really not surprising that you are feeling depressed whilst you are so unwell. It would be more surprising if you weren't!

    You are exhausted because your body is trying to fight 'infection' or whatever flare up is.

    See how you go. With regards restarting antidepressants only you and GP can decide that but you should discuss it with your GP.

    In the meantime be KIND to yourself and snuggle under the duvet with a good book and treats whilst you recover.

  • My personal opinion is that it is the steroids. They have side effects that are worse than the COPD. After a while they stop helping and the side effects worsen. Sometimes medications are necessary and they are life saving. But other times they make things worse and the doctors don't want to see that. My husband was on steroids for so long he couldn't get off them due to adrenal insufficiency. He passed away in October. Please be aware of any drugs side effects and only use them when absolutely necessary.

  • I think i remembered reading this before. Didn't take much notice because for five days eight at a time didn't seem long enough for any side effects but now I've been on them ten days my last dose is lunch time. I'm fed up with going back and forth to the GP in the last couple of weeks

  • Stay in bed, keep warm and get the doctor to come to you.

  • Thinking if you pepparuby and yes, do go back to your GP and speak about how you are feeling.

    I hope things improve very soon. Take care. Xxxxxxxxx

  • Thanks sassy59 - x

  • I remember saying to my doc when I had a bad chest infection that my legs felt very tired by afternoon. She told me that your whole body is affected by this infection. Not just your chest. Body and mind go together Hopefully when your a bit better your mood will lift as well. Having a chat about it to doc or anyone else can be very therapeutic. Take care and feel better soon. X

  • I don't think this time of year helps, a lot of us suffer from SAD and it's no wonder with the short dark cold days. Be kind to yourself and accept any help you are offered. Brighter and happier days will come. xx

  • 🌷Hi pepparuby

    You must go back to your GP, and explain everything like you have to us.

    You are feeling very down at the moment, and that's not surprising, as you have had a lot to put up with.

    I hope you start to pick up soon, in the mean time be kind to yourself, don't fret, you will get better it just takes a little time. 🌷

    Hugs from me

    Velvet xx

  • Greetings! The statistics for COPD + depression are something horrendous like 80%, even if the patient hasn't recognised depression yet... so at least you are half way there, having seen that you have a problem.

    These chest infections which don't show up on tests are an absolute nightmare, aren't they! The only thing you can do is to keep taking steroids (which bring problems of their own, not least "hamster face"), exercise to lift your mood, drink plenty of fluids (but not alcohol, sadly!), and wait for the dratted thing to go.

    I'll be joining you in the bottom of that black hole soon: I woke up to a snotty head cold. Grrrr, bah!!


  • Thanks Catnip you are so right these infections/exasperations/virus are pretty awful for us with COPD and just reflecting now i had two one after the other this time last year (i was on a clinical trial and blamed it on the fact i was on the placebo meds)

    I am and will stay focused with this i think the thought of not being able to do anything and being ill off work just contributes to the depression. Thank god i only had to take the steroids for five days each time

  • :) That's my girl -- Sod work, let others run after you, and if they don't - then start training them right now! The exacerbation will go, the infection will go and you'll feel tons better. Don't try to do anything which will stress you, or cause more problems.



  • Thanks Catnip 🐱 and I'm beginning to feel much better today xx

  • morning

    I am going through same thing, last year it took 3 lots of both tablets to get me back on the right track. I often get this panic feeling, about being puffed. the steroids might have a great effect on not being able to sleep, one of the side effects. hope you feel better soon

  • Why on earth is he giving you antibiotics if he says you have no infection

    Perhaps its your inhalers that need looking at and maybe changing ...You should definitely go back and keep going back until you feel better ...Take a sputum sample with you so you will know for certain if there is an infection and they will know which antibiotic to give you

  • Thank you

  • Sometimes, Mandy, there is an infection there which doesn't show up on sputum samples; last year I had two nasty infections which eventually did show up, but I'd had antibiotics prior to that; I think I'd have met my end there and then, without the protection!


  • I know honey my doctor had me on different types of antibiotics for over a year it was awful ,, then i was rushed into hospital and i had a scan which showed no infection but Bronchiectasis ...It may be worth your while to ask for a referral to a consultant if you feel your not getting anywhere

    Hope you feel better soon

  • Hi it sounds like the infection has gone which is good news. If there is no infection then ab's are not needed but steroids can be. I have had several exacerbations with no infection and just been given steroids which have cleared it. You can't judge your condition accurately when you have an exacerbation. Wait until it is cleared then see how you feel. Hopefully you will return to pre infection levels

    Depression is very common with any chronic condition. If you feel you need to go back on your ad's then do. You are the best judge of that. x

  • Yes you are right today is the last day of steroids and i know from before in a few days i start to feel well and my

    Mood process changes thank you

  • There is a reason they are called the devils pills! After the high comes the low. This shouldn't last long though so maybe wait until you are through this and see how you feel then? x

  • Hi Pepparuby, sorry to hear how you are. Now I don't know much about depression but I do know that it can drive people to very low depths. I hope your health improves but I have to ask if it is the feeling of being unwell that is getting you down or would you have been feeling down regardless? I believe that there are plenty of people on this site who can advise you better and all I can say is that being down can't be doing your kids much good. You need some support.

  • I know it's because I'm ill and can't shrug it off - and having a flare up with a nasty virus too has brought me down. I'm planning to go back to work tomorrow {I'm part time as i am studying a degree in counselling believe it or not)

    I know once i get back on track i'll be fine - i had a good few days RR and I'm hoping this is the end of it.

    The steroids can bring low mood and depression but i know as a counsellor in training that my thought process has been chemically changed and it's not for ever

  • Yes it is I'm down because I'm down i do know a lot about depression my brother took his own life through it so I'm fully aware i have a streak in me to be affected with depression - -i that's why I'm studying counselling because i can so relate to people who struggle with their mental health.

    The steroids are like a catch 22 i need them but i have to deal with effects they have on me so I'm grateful it's only 10 days I've been on them.

    I will see GP but perhaps not rush into anti depressants until the steroids are out of my system and then decide x

  • Hi there pepparuby1 ,and I'm struggling with the depression that can grab some of us with COPD. You've had excellent advice and comments from Catnip ,@anniecindy,@Jilko59,@Terrymc and others. All of which are very interesting. I am becoming more inquisitive as to whether these steroids can cause depression if one is already susceptible in that way. Hope you feel better soon.

  • Hi I didn't realise steroids could contribute to depression I have copd and gave up smoking nearly two years ago things did improve for a while and life seemed to be looking up but slowly as the months have been passing my breathing has been getting worse I'm still having xolair injections which I thought was helping but I'm not so sure now ,but my feelings are very bleak I feel what is the point of anything I feel I'm a burden to my family I struggle to want to get up in the morning because I have to face another day,I've had two lots of steroids in the last month 5 days each time would this make me feel so down and what can I take instead to help when my chest flares up I don't think I can go on much longer feeling so rotten any advice out there.

  • I think if you take the steroids for short periods the depression can fade away like it does with me however this illness can get us down and i most certainly will talk to GP about my mental wellbeing and if you need something then accept it

  • Thank you pepparuby I am on antidepressant already maybe I need to change them I will make a appointment to see my gp

  • Definitely see your GP about your prescription- depression when in treated or not enough or correct meds can make you worse. I'm not an expert but i work in GP surgery with addictions and heroin addicts and my job is to make sure their scripts are safely given and correct. Funny i work in GP surgery but not my own can never get appointment at my own x

  • Getting a appointment is like winning the lottery virtually impossible but I will phone in the morning thanks

  • Snap I'm ringing my GP at 8 to get appointment for late afternoon if i can good luvk

  • Hi, well I always assume when I cough up green gunk that it is infection, and usually doc agrees and gives me antibiotics, sometimes I need 2 courses and 1 is different to the other one, but hey ho they work and I get better. I have a friend who has a cough and goes to docs and straight away is given antibiotics .... why ?? I also have the tabs to help the mucus up and not sure if they work or not as don't cough much up at any point, but do need a hand as only 1 lung to work with. Lately I have felt forever p***ed off and cry to order ...Don't 'do' depression and struggle to understand mental health as I have had a lot of bad bad times but always kicked my butt and got pedalling again. So the other day I read that depression is a common side effect of COPD .... explains a lot as only got a full diagnosis of it in May this year ... maybe it is the meds who knows but this is what I seem to have .... I will get over it for sure cos that is a must but maybe the meds are the root of the problem ???? Chin up sweetie xxxx

  • Hi Pepparuby1

    I'm Graham Copd diagnosed two years and pleased to meet you

    Feeling very sorry for you as It seems you have got it all going on at this time , depression and copd can go together but may not be connected in your case ,however it needs to be checked out .

    You can deal with depression and separate it from the copd problem hopefully making it not such a big thing to deal with does that make sense?

    Do you have anyone you can talk to at length to get everything into perspective as it sometimes helps to get advice from someone who cares about you

    Hope it gets better for you

    Best regards

    Graham. ( Copdme )

  • I stopped my steroids yesterday so going to leave it for a few days i think i was soooo down being ill my thought process seemed to shift in the wrong direction

    Thank you

  • Sorry couldn't be more help Pepparuby1

    Hope your feeling a bit better today

    If not then best to get G P advice

    Take care

    Graham. ( Copdme )

  • Hi pepperuby It sounds like you are going through exactly what I am I have had copd for years and 4 months ago diagnosed with bronchiectasis I have had lung infections for a year cant seem to clear them I am exhausted most of the time and very breathless its really scary I have suffered depression for a very long time still take prozac 20mg everyday but feel dreadful right now dont want to leave the house not feeling very positive which is not good I have finally got my hospital appointment on friday. Jan

  • Thanks everyone for your empathy and support i have just started to crawl out of the black hole and today i drive to work and started to feel human again! Steroids stopped two days ago so i am really pleased. I think i'll speak to the clinical trial doctor because he doesn't always recommend the steroids but regardless of all this i feel better! This is so nasty this illness i had no cough or runnynose just awful lethargic feelings and the inability to function properly and depression too!

    Thanks again everyone what a brilliant group!!

    Hoping to do some more copd clinical trials in January so that will be good!

  • If you've had AB's and you're not better I.e. Still green sputum, get back onto your doctor pronto and ask to have an analyses of it and get an AB specific to it

    If it's green it's almost certainly an opportunistic bacterium after a viral infection and needs hitting hard now.

    Good Luck and breathe well

  • Hi. I suffered from c.o.p.d for about 10 years I was on and off antibiotics and steroids constantly but did take anti depressants. All medication has side effects but I think as long as they are helping you its worth carrying on. I do know exercise is the most important thing and perhaps worth getting an oxygen monitor, they are not expensive but can check your oxygen levels to see how you are getting on. I could never bring phlegm up but if you can it.s worth taking a sample to your doctor so they can identify it for medication. Good luck Sue

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