Newswise – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – a debilitating chronic lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis – has previously been linked to mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and mental illness. substance use. But a new study by researchers at the University of Toronto found that while adults without the disease thrived mentally at higher rates, a strong majority of those diagnosed with COPD were in excellent mental health.
The study examined factors associated with mental flourishing in a nationally representative sample of 703 Canadians aged 50 and over who had been diagnosed with COPD, which is the third leading cause of death in Canada. It found that 87% of older Canadians with COPD had no mental illness, while two-thirds (67%) of people with COPD were in excellent mental health.
“This research provides a very promising message for people living with COPD, as well as their families and healthcare professionals. the vast majority of people with COPD embrace their lives and thrive. They are in excellent mental health despite the physical, mental and economic challenges of coping with COPD.
The researchers wanted to study the factors associated with a high level of mental well-being. To be defined as being in excellent mental health, respondents had to achieve three goals: 1) happiness or life satisfaction almost daily in the past month, 2) high levels of social and psychological well-being in the past month previous, and 3) absence of generalized disorders. anxiety and depressive disorders, suicidal thoughts and substance dependence for at least the previous year.
People with COPD who were socially isolated were particularly vulnerable to poor mental health. On the other hand, those who had at least one person in their life with whom they could talk about important decisions were seven times more likely to be free of mental illness and to be in excellent mental health than those who had no no confidant.
“It is clear that social support is a key factor in the well-being of older people with COPD. Interventions are needed to promote social support and reduce social isolation and loneliness of the most isolated,” Abudiab says.
Factors associated with lower levels of fulfillment included previous major depressive disorders and adverse childhood experiences. Older Canadians with COPD who had suffered from major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder at some point in the past were significantly less likely to be happy and successful than those with COPD without this history .
Additionally, negative childhood experiences, such as physical and sexual abuse, reduced the odds that people with COPD would be free of mental illness by 31%. Childhood adversities can impede the development of positive coping strategies and emotional regulation, and exacerbate maladaptive attachment styles, such as smoking and substance abuse, in adulthood, ultimately compromising physical health and mental.
“Our findings underscore the importance of targeted education and referrals for people with COPD who are not thriving,” says the study’s lead author, Esme Fuller-Thomson. “Healthcare professionals may consider mental health interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for older adults with COPD who have mental health issues. CBT has been shown to be very effective in reducing symptoms of mental illness in patients with COPD who also suffer from depression and anxiety, and it has also been used successfully for those with a history of adversities in childhood. Fuller-Thomson is director of the Institute for Life Course and Aging at the University of Toronto and a professor in the Factor-Inwentash School of Social Work and the Department of Family and Community Medicine.
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