Asthma, your mood and anxiety

3) Anxiety related to your asthma

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  1. Coping with your illness and symptoms day to day
    • You may worry about your symptoms, and the impact of your lung condition on your ability to manage day-to-day. This can be challenging, and cause you to worry more.
    • You may delay contacting your GP when you notice a change in your normal symptoms as you worry about being a bother.
    • You may try to keep going as before, triggering more symptoms including breathlessness, and this may cause you to worry about how you will cope.
    • You may just be worried. This may be because you are more breathless than you are used to, or expect yourself to be.
    • A previous difficult experience because of breathlessness may put you off doing the same activity again for fear of triggering symptoms, e.g. walking up a slope or up stairs, or going out when you have a chest infection.
  2. Worries about your health declining
    • You may worry about what the future holds and about the effect your lung condition will have.
    • You may worry about lots of things:
      • Losing your independence.
      • Having to rely on friends, family or neighbours for help with certain things.
      • That you are less able to get out and about to do the things which are important to you.
      • Your current housing is no longer suitable (e.g. 3rd floor flat).
      • That your symptoms become so problematic that you need extra help with personal care.
      • You need to recognise breathlessness and anxiety when they feed each other and become worse. By recognising your symptoms you can take action to prevent their problems escalating.
  3. Worries about hospital visits
    You may worry about staying overnight in hospital because you have never liked hospitals or heard ‘bad news’ stories from others or in the media. You may worry if you have a morning appointment and feel this will be a struggle for you to get there on time because of your breathlessness.
  4. Effect of your illness on your family
    You may worry about how changes in your health will effect your family and family life. You may not be able to do all the things you did before, or be able to do them in the same way. Families can then step in to help but may end up doing too much for you, or may expect you to carry on as before not realising how your symptoms are affecting you.
  5. Money worries
    You may worry about the effect of your lung condition on your finances, about loss of income or having to claim benefits for the first time.
  6. Employment issues
    You may worry about you or your partner having to take time off work, and the impact of this. You may worry about being able to continue in your current job or in fact being able to work at all.