COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a collective term for a number of different illnesses that affect your lungs. This means that you have a long-term condition that obstructs your airways, causing them to narrow, thus affecting your breathing. It affects our lungs and does not allow us to use oxygen efficiently. If we cannot use oxygen efficiently, our body feels tired, as this is the most vital energy for our muscles and brain. It is also common for people to get anxious about their condition, which can make you more breathless.
The umbrella term of COPD is made up of a number of different medical issues, the most common being:
How we can help
COPD and anxiety
Many people who have COPD might not realise that they also have physical symptoms of anxiety that make you more breathless. It is common to worry about getting breathless (short-term) and about the impact of your condition on your health (long-term). When we worry, we might experience uncomfortable physical symptoms of anxiety, which can often be misinterpreted as a COPD flare-up. At Hounslow IAPT, we aim to help those with COPD to tell the difference between anxiety and symptoms of COPD, and to learn to control the anxiety better so that you become less breathless.
COPD and low mood
COPD can also affect how much you are able to do. This can not only be frustrating but can cause you to slip into a spiral of low mood if you stop doing things altogether. If you are doing less than usual, you lose a sense of pleasure and achievement, which can cause a feeling of depression. We can help you to manage your activity levels in a way that does not exacerbate your COPD symptoms but allows you to pace yourself and get back to doing the things you enjoy doing, lifting your mood.
What we offer
Living Well with Breathlessness course
We offer a course that provides you with everything you need to know in order to live better with your symptoms of COPD. You will be provided with a lot of contact time with 90-minute sessions, and you can meet others who are going through the same difficulties as you. The course is for 6 weeks and covers the following:
- Introduction to COPD and CBT;
- Dealing with breathlessness;
- Adjusting to breathlessness;
- Getting the better of bad days;
- Challenging scenarios and sleep;
- Maintaining wellbeing.
We can offer one-to-one support to those with more difficult and pervasive symptoms of COPD, who might also present with other difficulties that might not be covered in our Living Well with Breathlessness course. You might typically start with 6 sessions and your therapist might adjust this where necessary. At your initial assessment, your therapist will decide whether one-to-one support will be beneficial for you using their knowledge and expertise.
Want our support?
You can self-refer by filling out the form on our Refer Yourself page. Alternatively, if you’re unsure, or wish to talk things through a bit more, please speak to your GP or your main COPD healthcare professional.