Research has recently shown that it’s possible to be controlling kids’ anxiety by controlling asthma. The Dutch study results showed that children with asthma are no more likely than their peers to suffer mental health problems as long as their asthma is well managed
The author of the study, Professor Paul Brand, works with asthmatic children at Princess Amalia Children’s Center at Isala Hospital in Zwolle, The Netherlands. “The original literature, mostly from America, suggested that kids with asthma were at risk for anxiety, depression and low self-esteem, but that’s not what we’ve encountered in our clinical practice,” he said.
Earlier research probably included many children who did not take their daily medications as prescribed, he said. When kids take the necessary medicines, they don’t appear to be any worse off psychologically than other children.
He and his team compared 70 children from their clinic with mostly well-controlled asthma and aged 8 to 15 years old, to 70 of their friends, who were similar in many ways but did not have asthma.
All the children filled out age-appropriate questionnaires meant to assess depression, anxiety and self-esteem. They also answered questions about how well they controlled their wheezing and symptoms.
Hospital data included how long the children with asthma had the condition, their medication use and exposure to tobacco smoke.
Only 10 of the children with asthma didn’t have it well controlled, meaning they had had an instance when asthma had worsened in the past year, less than healthy lung function and a low score on the asthma management scale.
But kids with poorly controlled asthma tended to score higher on the anxiety questionnaire than kids with well controlled asthma.