Psychological issues in the treatment of asthmatic patients.Respir Med. 2000 Aug; 94(8):742-9.RM
Recently published research contends that anxiety and depression are more common in asthmatic patients than in the general population. Particular psychological profiles could even be a risk factor contributing to deaths caused by asthma. The purpose of our research was to evaluate the anxiety and depression level in a population of 80 asthmatic patients who were treated in our department, and to judge whether data collected on psychological profiles of these asthmatic patients can be of any significance when dealing with their pathology. The study consisted of 40 patients suffering from chronic viral hepatitis B or C, and 40 healthy subjects who served as a control group. Both sets of patients were homogeneous with regard to sex, age and education. All subjects were tested for anxiety and depression levels with the S.T.A.I. and Zung questionnaires. A structured questionnaire was employed to assess the daily approach to living with the disease only in asthmatic patients. The anxiety and depression levels were noticeably higher in asthmatic patients than in patients with chronic liver disease and healthy subjects. In particular, 34 asthmatic patients scored higher than the S.T.A.I. cut-off (40/80) and 27 attained the same results in the Zung questionnaire. Results from the asthmatic population and healthy subjects illustrated that women had a higher incidence of anxiety and depression compared to men, although no statistically significant relationship between sex and questionnaire results was apparent in patients with liver disease. In the year before assessment, hospitalization and emergency treatment due to asthmatic exacerbation was correlated in females with a high incidence of anxiety. Additionally, the asthmatic population's level of education is significantly related to the incidence of anxiety and depression. With higher education, incidence of depression and anxiety decreased. This result was not apparent in control groups. The results of our study were: (1) we confirmed that asthmatic pathology is associated with an increase in incidence of anxiety and depression, whose presence and seriousness should be taken into consideration in therapeutic programmes when dealing with a patient; (2) we indicated that a specific approach towards therapy is crucial when dealing with an asthmatic patient; (3) we suggested how important it is to identify categories of patients that require more care because of their psychological profile. These findings should provide for the optimal use of informational resources with important applications for educational programmes and the future treatment of the asthmatic population.