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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I fight depression with COPD?

    I have had COPD for 8 years and am tired of not being able to breathe. I don't understand how exercise is recommended when I am gasping for air even when laying down to sleep. It has made me very depressed because I feel like I have no hope. What can help me?
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  • 2


    Damien Haines

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Damien Haines is a registered Clinical Psychologist who brings a warm and empathetic approach to therapy. He emphasises engagement in the world and encourages clients … View Profile

    Hi. I know almost nothing about this disorder and so have done a quick Google search for resources. The best/easiest to understand I found is this pdf document.

    From this booklet it would seem that exercise is indicated for people with COPD. I would suggest perhaps going to a pain clinic or see a psychologist who has good experience with health psychology. I would recommend from this booklet engaging in pacing strategies to slowly (at your own pace) building up your fitness and lung capacity. Evidence clearly demonstrates that people with chronic conditions such as COPD who engage in exercise/pacing strategies start to focus more on what they can do rather than what they cannot - it is this change in persepctive that lifts ones mood.

    I wish you luck

  • 1


    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile


    Like Damien I had to do a Google to find out about about COPD.

    You might find the information here helpful; .

    (The Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit group of US health professionals.)

  • 1



    HealthShare Member

    My mum suffers from COPS, pulmonary fibrosis to be exact. She is 59 & I 25, we are still learning about it all but sometimes she gets herself into a spat where she just hates life, wants to stop taking her medications. It's hard, I can't bare to think of the pain she is in by where a walk to the letterbox causes a pull and breathlessness. 

    My advise is to join a support group where you can talk to others who are in the same boat… All the best 

  • 1


    Elizabeth Scott


    I am a registered psychologist with a Masters in Health Psychology, and I am also a registered Division 1 nurse with postgraduate qualifications in critical … View Profile

    I am a registered psychologist and a critcally care trained registered nurse.  It is very frightening when you are experiencing breathing difficulties impacting upon your quality of life.  I agree with the other practitioners regarding pacing yourself, similarly when one has chronic pain.  I also agree that it is important to see your GP for a referral for pulmonary rehabilitation, which would involve a multidisciplinary approach, for eg. respiratory physiotherapist, and a psychologist to assist with your depression, in addition to your respiratory physician.  If you aren't already on an antidepressant, you may benefit discussing this option with your doctor.

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