Journal of psychosomatic research

Cough variant asthma patients are more depressed and anxious than classic asthma patients.

PMID 25837530


Many recent studies have indicated that depression and anxiety are more common in asthmatic patients than in the general population and psychological stress can lead to asthma exacerbations, but no study specifically targets cough variant asthma (CVA) patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate depression and anxiety levels in CVA patients compared with classic asthma patients and to identify the psychological features of CVA patients. Fifty-nine outpatients with CVA and 128 outpatients with classic asthma were interviewed about psychosomatic and psychiatric symptoms, and they underwent three psychological tests: Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and Comprehensive Asthma Inventory (CAI). They were ultimately screened for major and minor depression, dysthymia, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and other anxiety disorders. CVA patients showed higher SDS and STAI scores than classic asthma patients, and mood disorders and anxiety disorders were more common than in classic asthma outpatients. The psychological factors 'frustration', 'fright into illness', and 'distorted lifestyle' were more prominent in CVA patients than in classic asthma patients. CVA patients are on average more depressed and anxious than classic asthma outpatients. Though CVA appears pathologically to be just an early stage of typical asthma, the psychological stress may often be more serious than in asthma controlled by medication, which may explain why CVA cannot be controlled by a bronchodilator alone and patients often require no less intense therapy than for severe asthma.