Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic condition that affects the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Patients with COPD may experience symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can have a significant impact on their daily lives, leading to depression and anxiety. A recent study was conducted in China to investigate the effect of expressive art therapy (EAT) on the health status of patients with COPD.
The trial involved 360 participants with COPD and comorbid depression from 16 communities in China. The participants were randomly assigned to either receive EAT plus usual care (UC) or UC only. General practitioners were trained in EAT before the intervention.
The primary outcomes of the study were depression and anxiety symptoms, measured with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and expressed as the HADS score for depression or anxiety (HADS-D or HADS-A, respectively). The secondary outcomes were the quality of life and dyspnoea, measured with the COPD assessment test (CAT).
Dyspnoea was assessed using the modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) dyspnoea scale. Lung function was expressed as the forced expiratory volume in 1s as a percentage of the predicted value [FEV1 (% pred)].
The results of the study showed that the EAT group had significantly greater improvement in the HADS-D and HADS-A scores than the UC group at 2 months and 6 months. The CAT and mMRC scores were significantly lower in the EAT group than in the UC group at 2 and 6 months. The FEV1 (% pred) was significantly higher in the EAT group than in the UC group at 6 months. These findings suggest that EAT can effectively reduce anxiety and depression symptoms and dyspnoea, improve quality of life, and improve the pulmonary function of patients with COPD.