Do emotions play a role in asthma?
Yes they do. But only a small role in some asthmatics.
Many hundred years ago, asthma was thought to be a neurotic or a psychosomatic disease. Now, of course we know that asthma is a disease in which the airways are oversensitive and over reactive. They become constricted or narrowed in response to a variety of stimuli. These stimuli could be pollens, dust, temperature change, viral infections of strong smells. Or strong emotions.
Thus emotions can trigger asthma: this is truer for some asthmatics than others.
Anger, frustration, depression, family discord or social mal-adjustment are some of the common emotions which make asthma worse. Many patients of asthma wheeze and cough after laughing loudly!
Many patients of, what is called “difficult to control asthma” have underlying depression or serious psychological issues. These have to be un-covered and addressed. Simply increasing the asthma medications does not work.
It is also my consistent observation that asthma patients who are generally optimistic and upbeat respond better to treatment and their asthma is much better controlled than those asthmatics who allow their asthma to get the better of them.
The mind is very powerful. Most diseases are influenced by our emotional state. This is particularly true for asthma.
So what is the bottom line? The bottom line is that emotions do not cause asthma, but they certainly influence asthma. Positive emotions influence positively and negative emotions influence it negatively.