If you suffer from asthma, you know that coping with the condition can be extremely challenging. But can you imagine ending your life as a result of having this condition? While this may sound very extreme, some of the latest research has found that there is a real link between asthma symptoms and suicidal tendencies. The study findings suggest that the connection may not specifically be because people suffer from the asthma symptoms themselves, but nonetheless, that asthma-suicide risk does seem to be linked in some significant way.

When Asthma-Suicide Tendencies Co-Exist

This isn't the first time the medical community has questioned the asthma-suicide connection and suggested there can be a relationship between respiratory function and mental health. In fact, it has long been recognized that asthma sufferers can be prone to depression, in part perhaps because of the isolation their uncontrolled symptoms can create. But specifically how this relates to suicidal thoughts and tendencies is still under exploration.

The latest study, which was sponsored by the National Institutes of Mental Health, was devoted to looking at the asthma-suicide relationship. The findings from this effort have confirmed that having asthma does seem to increase a person's likelihood of idealizing suicide and even of making a suicide attempt.

Depression isn't a Major Factor in Asthma-Suicide

Researchers also questioned whether having a major depression condition in itself seemed to affect the likelihood of someone with asthma idealizing suicide or even attempting it. Surprisingly perhaps, having serious lifetime depression along with the asthma did not seem to be a key factor in the equation. People with asthma who also have depression didn't seem to be at a higher risk than those without any mental illness symptoms in the end.

Having a Chronic Illness May Come into Play

Some experts in the medical community do speculate that it may be more the very act of having a chronic illness to deal with that can actually lead a person more toward suicide in some way. Further, suffering from the effects of having a respiratory disorder specifically seems to put a person more at risk than those who suffer from other type of ailments for feeling this way.  

Treatment Matters

The study also looked at whether getting treatment for asthma symptoms helped reduce the asthma-suicide risk. Although it might seem that reducing the symptoms would head off suicidal tendencies and/or attempts, the reality is that treatment didn't seem to impact the results. Even when people with asthma have appropriate treatment, they still seem to be at increased risk for asthma-suicide than their non-asthmatic counterparts.

Asthma Medicine and Suicide Risk

Finally, has been much attention lately also focused on whether certain asthma medications themselves can cause a person to be at increased suicidal risk. The US Food and Drug Administration has been exploring this possible link. Preliminary results to date from their research don't seem to find any relationship between taking asthma medication and being at increase risk for suicide. This is an important point, since people who are worried about the connection could be tempted to kip taking their medication and put themselves at great risk.

While more research is currently being conducted to help better understand the asthma-suicide link, in the meantime, it is important that you monitor your own situation and be on the lookout for feelings of hopelessness or despair. Further, if you do find yourself fantasizing about suicide or thinking at all about harming yourself or ending your life, it is important to seek professional help right away.


American Public Health Association


US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Healthfinder.gov