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Help for COPD and Depression

Having a chronic condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can lead to depression. Having depression can keep you from sticking to your disease-management plan, including breathing exercises, medicine, and good nutrition. You may also be tempted to cope with depression by relying on old habits such as smoking. Getting help for depression is essential for your health.

Depression alters the way you think and feel. It also affects your body. If any of these symptoms last two weeks or more, they may indicate depression:

  • Sadness, anxiety, irritability, or pessimism

  • Feeling guilty, worthless, hopeless, or helpless

  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed

  • Fatigue

  • Agitation, restlessness, or slowed movement

  • Significant changes in sleep patterns or appetite, such as sleeping too much or too little

  • Significant changes in appetite, such as eating too much or too little 

  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions

  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

  • Physical health concerns, such as headaches, other pain, or digestive problems that don’t improve with standard treatment

You can get help. Talk with your doctor about your symptoms. Depression is treatable with therapy, medicine or both. Remember, depression is an illness, not a character flaw. Together, you and your doctor can find the appropriate treatment for you. If you notice that your symptoms are worsening, contact your doctor or a mental health professional right away. With help, you can get better.

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