Patients exhibiting depressive symptoms when admitted to the hospital for acute COPD exacerbations have worse survival rates and are at increased risk for subsequent COPD exacerbations and hospitalizations in one year, according to European researchers.

Investigators found that 39% of 230 participants admitted to hospital with acute COPD exacerbations had clinically significant depressive symptoms, even without a no previous history of depression. The authors found that, when compared to patients without depressive symptoms, depressed patients had more impaired lung function, more comorbidity, and more severe disease.

“The secondary emotional responses to chronic respiratory disease contribute to the resulting inactivity, deconditioning and morbidity, which finally cause social isolation, fear and depression,” the authors wrote.

“Patients with severe COPD very often feel useless, experience reduced sexual activity, depend on others for their personal care and lose interest in life and future projects.”