For COPD Patients, Suicidal Thoughts Persist

Article

While suicide ideation (SI) and depression is common among individuals suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emerging research has also discovered women with the condition disproportionately experience SI and it persists despite undergoing mental health treatment.

While suicide ideation (SI) and depression is common among individuals suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emerging research has also discovered women with the condition disproportionately experience SI and it persists despite undergoing mental health treatment.

The study, published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, underscored the importance of combining medical and mental care when treating COPD patients.

The investigators, who gauged the depressive symptoms of 202 COPD patients aged 40 years or over, found 22 (11%) of them experienced SI. While 51 participants had a Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) score of 10 or greater (25%), indicating depression, most of the patients who faced an SI were women (59% vs 27%, P=0.004), hadsevere COPD symptoms (P=0.009), depression (P= 0.001), and anxiety (P=0.003)

Investigators also noted commonalities among participants who experienced an SI, including dealing with traumatic life situations, inadequately treated depression, loss of a key relationship, suffering from illness and disability, and poor communication with healthcare providers.

“These quantitative and qualitative findings reinforce the need to identify depression in all clinical settings where patients with COPD receive their care, but argue for a much more nuanced approach to assessment and treatment than is possible with simple screening tools,” co-contributor Sara Fleehart of the University of Washington (UW)’s School of Nursing and her colleagues reported.

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