Counseling Patients with Chronic Lung Disease: Interdisciplinary Strategies for Reducing Distress

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Abstract

Patients with chronic lung disease (CLD) experience a progressively debilitating loss of lung function over time. The symptom of breathlessness is commonly cited as the most distressing aspect of living with CLD, whether due to emphysema, asthma, interstitial lung disease, or cystic fibrosis. Current therapies, both allopathic and alternative, target relief of symptoms, but do not reverse loss of lung function. As a result, anxiety and depression are prevalent among patients with CLD. Counseling patients on how to live with their disease and maximize functionality is a critical but often overlooked aspect of patient care. This chapter focuses on the approach to counseling patients with CLD, addressing five pillars of optimum functioning.