Background: Achieving good asthma control has become the major goal of asthma treatment. Studies have reported a high rate of psychiatric disorders among asthma patients, though the impact of these disorders on asthma control and quality of life remains unexplored. This study evaluated the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in 406 adult asthma patients, and associations between psychiatric status, levels of asthma control, and asthma-related quality of life.
Methods: Consecutive asthma patients presenting to the asthma clinic underwent a brief, structured psychiatric interview, completed the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) and Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ), and reported the frequency of bronchodilator use in the past week. All patients underwent standard pulmonary function testing.
Results: A total of 34% (n=136) of patients had one or more psychiatric diagnosis, including major depression (15%), minor depression (5%), dysthymia (4%), panic disorder (12%), generalized anxiety disorder (5%), and social phobia (4%). Though there were no differences in pulmonary function, patients with versus without psychiatric disorders had worse ACQ and AQLQ scores and reported greater bronchodilator use, independent age, sex and asthma severity.
Conclusions: Results suggest that psychiatric disorders are prevalent among asthmatics and are associated with worse asthma control and quality of life. Physicians should be aware of the potential risk of poorer asthma control and functional impairment in this population.