Asthmatic Children at Risk for DepressionAn estimated twenty to fifty percent of asthmatic children also struggle with anxiety and asma or depressive disorders, more than double that seen in non-asthmatic children. In the 1920s and 1930s, depression and anxiety caused considered asthma and wheezing that a child can be thought of as a cry for his mother. It is now known that asthma is an abnormal respiratory allergens and other triggers that are harmless to most other individuals answer, but at the same time it is clear that psychological factors may also be involved.
Children with asthma may experience symptoms of anxiety and depression including fatigue, difficulty concentrating, decreased motivation, and sadness. They may feel isolated from their peers because they are not able to participate in the same activities. Irritability, loss or weight gain, anxiety when separated from their parents can occur. The fear of an asthma attack can contribute to this separation anxiety.
These symptoms may be influenced by a genetic link between asthma and depression or medications such as corticosteroids that are known to cause depression. Asthmatic children may also develop what is called learned helplessness, which is caused by feeling out of control of their lives and their health. Children who feel hopeless may be less likely to take their medications as directed and would therefore be more likely to develop complications.
It is extremely important that parents, doctors and others who care for children with asthma for signs of depression in these children. Research has shown that depression of asthmatic children have a higher mortality rate than non-depressed asthmatic children. Although his death can not be directly caused by depression, it is clear that they are less likely to survive a severe asthma attack. Children who have experienced other losses in their lives including divorce, death, or extreme family conflicts seem particularly at risk. If these symptoms occur, parents should discuss this with your child’s doctor and refers to the help of a counselor with experience in dealing with children with chronic illnesses.
Asthmatic children should learn that although his disease can not be cured, certainly manageable. They have the knowledge and the power to recognize that they can get into trouble and take the first steps to get her asthma under control. Asthma education and support groups such as the American Lung Association’s Open Airways program and taught in many primary schools or specialized asthma camps for children can be useful to give children in this knowledge and sense of power. Parents and schools should ensure that each child receives an action plan for asthma from his primary care physician for children and their caregivers do not have to panic when an exacerbation of symptoms occurs and know exactly what do. Early intervention in the treatment of depression and anxiety increase medication compliance, improve children’s sense of wellbeing, improving their ability to function well in school, and may even save their lives.
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