Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, anxiety, and depression: state of the science

Heart Lung. 2009 Jan-Feb;38(1):34-47. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2008.02.005.


Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects millions worldwide. Despite advances in the treatments of other chronic diseases, little progress in decreasing COPD morbidity and mortality has been made. The death rate associated with COPD has doubled in 30 years. The presence of psychiatric comorbidities, such as anxiety and depression, has been linked to increased mortality, decreased functional status, and decreased quality of life.

Objective: This review was undertaken to determine the state of the science of COPD, anxiety, and depression, and to identify nursing implications derived from these findings.

Conclusion: Although the prevalence of anxiety and depression among patients with COPD is significantly higher than the general population, there are serious barriers to the recognition and treatment of these comorbid conditions. Routine assessment and screening for anxiety and depression in all patients diagnosed with COPD should be considered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / mortality
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • United States / epidemiology