Anxiety in Cystic Fibrosis

The TIDES study (The International Depression and anxiety Epidemiological Study)
screened 6,088 patients (age 12+) and 4,102 parents across nine countries6.
It showed that depression and anxiety were elevated in patients with CF and in parents of children with CF.
Elevations were two to three times higher than those reported in community samples
If either parent had elevated scores , the adolescent was twice as likely to report elevated depression or anxiety.


People with untreated depression, anxiety or both:
•    May be less likely to manage their treatment plans effectively.
•    Tend to have worse lung function.
•    May have a lower body mass index (BMI).
•    Often experience more hospitalizations.
•    May experience a lower quality of life.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a ‘normal’ reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations. It can alert us to dangers and help us prepare and pay attention. However, anxiety disorders differ from ‘normal’ feelings of nervousness or anxiousness, and involve excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental health difficulties  and affect nearly 30 percent of adults at some point in their lives. 
Anxiety refers to anticipation of a future concern and is more associated with muscle tension and avoidance behavior.
Fear is an emotional response to an immediate threat and is more associated with a ‘fight or flight’ reaction – either staying to fight or leaving to escape danger.
Anxiety disorders can cause people into try to avoid situations that trigger or worsen their symptoms. Job performance, school work and personal relationships can be affected.
(source: american psychiatric organisation) 
In general, for a person to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the fear or anxiety must:
•    Be out of proportion to the situation or age inappropriate
•    Hinder  a persons ability to function normally
(source: american psychiatric organisation) 

Treatment of anxiety in CF

The International Mental Health Guidelines Committee (IMHGC) in Cystic Fibrosis have set up consensus statements for screening and treating depression in individuals with CF and caregivers.
The guidelines and questionnaires are available on our site.