Input from a psychologist can help improve asthma symptoms

Psychological input into the treatment and management of people with severe asthma can help improve their symptoms, according to a new study.

People with often experience symptoms that are difficult to treat. There is current debate in the healthcare community about the best way to treat these people. Around 27% of people with severe asthma are thought to experience psychological problems'; however, this isn't routinely addressed by asthma healthcare professionals.

The new research, presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress in Munich today (8 September 2014), suggests that severe could improve when psychological needs are addressed in this group of patients.

The researchers investigated the effectiveness of an appointment with a in 13 people who were identified as having a psychological illness alongside an admission to with an asthma exacerbation two or more times in the previous 12 months.

The patients were monitored for admissions to hospital and days in hospital in the six months before input from the psychologist and in the six months afterwards. The results showed that, prior to the appointments, the group totalled 19 asthma admissions to hospital and 159 days in hospital. After psychological support, these totals decreased to 10 admissions and 93 days in hospital, meaning a 42% reduction in hospital days over 6 months.

Dr Andrew Tan, from the University Hospital Southampton, said: "The results of our study can be a key factor in the current debate on how to treat people with severe asthma. We know that a significant proportion of these patients experience psychological issues and these results demonstrate that by tackling these problems, we can also help improve symptoms. This not only helps to improve the quality of life for the patient, it also eases the burden on healthcare systems by reducing the amount of time these patients are in hospital."

Explore further

Electronic nose can detect sub-groups of asthma in children

Citation: Input from a psychologist can help improve asthma symptoms (2014, September 8) retrieved 22 October 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more