Treatment from a psychologist found to reduce symptoms in asthma patients
Asthma symptoms in the most severe cases can be very uncomfortable and painful for the sufferer. Coughing fits, a tight chest and struggling to breathe are only some of the issues that arise when suffering from asthma symptoms or an asthma attack. Currently there are treatment options available such as inhalers which are known to both sufferers and non-sufferers and even medication plans, something the NHS is pushing heavily to stem the amount of hospital admissions regarding asthma. However a new form of treatment has been researched suggesting a potential new avenue of treatment for asthma symptoms.
Dr Hannah Burke, specialist in respiratory medicine, and her research team at Southampton General Medicine led a study into the potential impact that a clinical psychologist would have on patients who had suffered from two or more asthma related hospital admissions in the previous year.
The study involved 13 patients who fit the original criteria for the study. The evidence was collected over a yearly period, with the patient’s hospital admissions being monitored 6 months before and the 6 months following the visits to the psychologists.
The results showed that-
Before the introduction of the psychologist the group had 19 asthma admissions and 159 hospital days.
After the introduction of the psychologist the group had 10 admissions and 93 hospital days. (This was a 42% reduction)
Dr Burke commented with the following-
“People with severe asthma often experience symptoms that are difficult to treat and around 27% are thought to experience psychological problems. There is current debate in the healthcare community about the best way to treat these people but, at present, it isn’t routinely addressed by asthma healthcare professionals.”
The study itself in not conclusive as more research and evidence is required to properly identify a trend between psychological and symptoms. It is however a step in the right direction in providing new treatment for asthma sufferers. The combination of both inhaler and potentially psychological help could prevent asthma symptoms from happening altogether.
 “Psychological input can help reduce asthma symptoms”, ITV News, http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2015-01-13/input-from-a-psychologist-can-reduce-symptoms-in-asthma-patients/
 “Can visiting a psychologist prevent severe asthma?”, Irish Examiner, http://www.irishexaminer.com/examviral/science-world/can-visiting-a-psychologist-prevent-severe-asthma-306743.html