Dealing with your mental health

Your mental health when you're living with a lung condition

Living with a long-term lung condition can affect many aspects of your life. You’ll have physical symptoms, like getting out of breath and feeling tired. But lung diseases can also affect your mood, and how you cope.

You are not alone. Many people with a long-term lung condition feel anxious. Some people also have low mood or symptoms of depression.  It’s very common to experience anxiety and depression together.

Anxiety and depression are different.

If you have more questions or just want to chat, call our friendly helpline on 03000 030 555.

Symptoms of anxiety often occur with breathlessness, which can be frightening. Being anxious can make all of us feel out of breath. And if you live with a long-term lung condition, your main symptom may be getting short of breath. Being anxious can make this feeling worse, and may make you panic.

Symptoms such as coughing and breathlessness, may cause you to stay at home more and avoid physical activity. You might not sleep as well, and lose interest in your usual activities. You may feel that your breathing problems have stopped you doing what you love. This can leave you feeling angry, disheartened or hopeless. These emotions can be symptoms of depression.

People often experience symptoms of anxiety and depression at the same time. That, in turn, can make your lung condition worse.

At the moment, depression and anxiety have taken hold of me as a result of a recent hospital admission while in recovery from a previous one. Then pneumonia knocked me back and inflamed my lungs and throat and made me even more housebound and weak.


But treatment is available to help support your wellbeing. Remember that many other people have experienced anxiety and depression and have recovered from them. They are both very normal reactions to living with a long-term lung condition.

Next: What is anxiety? >

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Download our mental health information (399KB, PDF)

Last medically reviewed: March 2018. Due for review: March 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.