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5 Psychological Challenges of Lung Disease and How to Overcome Them

23 Dec 2015
| Under Lung Disease, Medical, Mental Health | Posted by | 10 Comments
5 Psychological Challenges of Lung Disease and How to Overcome Them

The psychological effects of lung disease can be challenging.  Here’s what you can do.

Anyone suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease can tell you that the psychological effects of the disease can be just as debilitating as the physical. And as the effects of lung disease become more pronounced, they can erode one’s previous quality of life creating feelings of shame, helplessness, fear, depression and a lack of motivation. Although these issues can be overwhelmingly difficult to overcome, with your health in mind, the Lung Institute has put together a short list addressing 5 psychological challenges of lung disease and how to overcome them.

5. Shame

5 Psychological Challenges of Lung Disease and How to Overcome Them

Shame is a feeling we all experience at one time or another. It is the voice inside reminding us of some internal weakness that seems visible for all to see. For those who suffer from lung disease, this feeling can be unshakeable. It can start with an incessant cough in a crowded place, unwanted scrutiny of an oxygen tank, or exhaustion in the presence of family members.

How to Overcome

When dealing with shame, it’s important to remember that you’re your own best friend. Give yourself positive reinforcement–tell yourself you’re great until you mean it, forgive yourself for your mistakes, and challenge your negative thoughts. You forgive those you love—forgive yourself as well, and move forward without looking back.

4. Depression

5 Psychological Challenges of Lung Disease and How to Overcome Them

It’s been said that depression is rage turned inward–a sadness that seems to seep into one’s total outlook on life. And it’s not uncommon. Depression is often introduced after diagnosis, and as deeply ingrained as it may seem, this common affliction is possible to overcome. The key is to start small and build up.

How to Overcome

In tackling depression, the first thing to realize is that it’s okay to feel depressed; it’s temporary. In starting small, develop happiness from within by doing the things you love. It could be anything. Have a conversation with someone you love. Watch your favorite show, go fishing, or play ping-pong. Perhaps most importantly, practice being mindful of the things life has given you to be grateful for. No matter how dire your circumstances, if you sit down with pen and paper and make a “gratitude list,” you will be amazed by how many items flow from your pen. This takes practice, and starting can seem pointless, but practicing gratitude builds its own momentum, and that can result in joy.

3. Fear

5 Psychological Challenges of Lung Disease and How to Overcome Them

Fear is universal, but it isn’t always a negative. At its worst, fear can be crippling.  And for those facing the incurability of lung disease, the future can look scary. On the other hand, ask yourself, “What is courage?” Courage is feeling fear and acting anyway; it’s moving forward in the face of fear that defines bravery.

How to Overcome:

The difference in being shaken by fear and overcoming it is the decision to act. And the key to overcoming fear is changing your perception. To realize that it’s okay to be afraid, as long as it doesn’t stop you from making that first step.  Resolve to make your own decisions, not to allow fear to make them for you.

2. Helplessness

5 Psychological Challenges of Lung Disease and How to Overcome Them

For those with a disability, the feeling of helplessness is common. Believing they are incapable of caring for themselves a feeling of helplessness can be more constructed than real, fostering in an unnecessary dependence on others. Instead of asking first what they can do for themselves, even if it’s only one small thing, someone suffering from helplessness looks to others.

How to Overcome:

Ask yourself what you can achieve on your own before asking for help.  Mentally separate yourself from those that you feel dependent on by regaining your individualism. After some time and renewed independence, re-establish relationships within a new dynamic. You’ll surprise yourself, and others, with what you can do.

1. Lack of Motivation

5 Psychological Challenges of Lung Disease and How to Overcome Them

More than other entries on this list, loss of motivation may be most common. Whether it’s a pledge to get in shape, change a diet, or learn a new language, we’ve often felt a lack of willpower to act. For people with COPD and other lung diseases, a lack of motivation in changing their lifestyle can lead to personal catastrophe.

How to Overcome:

Set realistic goals with a purpose in mind. Ask yourself if a goal supports the overall purpose. If not, consider abandoning it. As the 16th century samurai Miyamoto Musashi wrote, “Do nothing which is of no use.” In moving towards your goal, remember that progress isn’t always easy; envision success when you succeed and regret if you were to quit. Draw inspiration from as many sources as possible, and be willing to forgive yourself. And always remember, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.


A shift in positive outlook is critical for living with COPD and other lung diseases, but for physical relief, alternative treatment may be necessary. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, or any lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of stem cell treatment options. Contact us at (800) 729-3065 to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy!

Struggling with the psychological challenges of Lung Disease? We encourage you to share your story, thoughts and comments on our list of 5 Ways to Overcome the Psychological Challenges of Lung Disease.


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  2. Cameron Kennerly

    9 months ago

    Hello Sherry,

    We appreciate your comment as well as your time and consideration in reviewing this article. Although large-scale outcomes data is still in development within this field of medicine, we are proud to push this science forward by presenting our most recent findings. In a pilot study reviewing the effects of stem cell therapy on approximately 100 patients we have published what we believe to be an inspiring snapshot of the effects of stem cell therapy on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If you ever have any questions regarding stem cell therapy or tips for living with lung disease in general, please reach out to us at (855) 313-1149 and we’d be happy to assist.

    We welcome your feedback in our quest to better the quality of life for those suffering from COPD and other chronic lung diseases.

    -The Lung Institute

  3. Sherry Collins

    9 months ago

    What physical evidence or proof is there to support that Stem cell therapy

  4. Pingback: Lung Institute | Top 5 Apps to Fight Lung Disease

  5. Cameron Kennerly

    10 months ago

    Hello Sarah,

    Thank you for your warm comments Sarah! We appreciate your readership and will continue to provide you quality information on COPD and other respiratory illnesses. If you ever have any questions regarding stem cell therapy please feel free to reach out to us at (855) 313-1149 and we’d be happy to assist.

    Enjoy your day Sarah,

    -The Lung Institute

  6. Shoulder Surgery

    10 months ago

    Thanks for sharing helpful information, I really like your all post. I will bookmark your blog for future updates.

  7. Cameron Kennerly

    10 months ago

    Hello Kitty,

    Thanks for your question! The procedure itself doesn’t take longer than several hours after initial arrival. However the treatment is performed in several steps (or rounds) over the course of 2-3 days. If you’re looking for more information we’d love to hear from you. Please give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak with one of our well-qualified patient coordinators. They should be able to answer or go over any questions you may have.

    Happy Holidays and we look forward to hearing from you Kitty,

    -The Lung Institute

  8. Kitty flynn

    10 months ago

    My husband has COPD and we are wondering how long does it take to grown a stem cell.?

  9. Cameron Kennerly

    10 months ago

    Hello Kirk,

    Trust us when we say that you would not be the first to ask this type of question, and although unfortunately insurance does not yet cover this stem cell therapy, there have been many before you that have discovered alternate routes on the quest for better health. We encourage you to reach out to one of our patient coordinators at (855) 313-1149 for more information on treatment, its costs and alternative funding options. Their wealth of knowledge on the subject should be helpful in answering any and all questions.

    Happy Holidays Kirk and we look forward to hearing from you,

    The Lung Institute

  10. Kirk Snyder

    10 months ago

    I am an US citizen living in Costa Rica because of my COPD. Lower altitude, constant tropical temperature an super oxygen saturaded air. I understand stem cell treatment is not covered by Medicare. Are there any programs that can help with this expensive alternative? I would like to try this however I am on SS on medicare and at 69 years of age I realize I have few choices. Thank you

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

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