Doctors have found input from a psychologist can significantly reduce symptoms and hospital admissions among patients with severe asthma.
Researchers led by Dr Hannah Burke, a specialist in respiratory medicine at Southampton General Hospital, studied the impact of an appointment with a clinical psychologist on 13 patients who had two or more asthma-related hospital admissions in the previous year.
The patients were monitored for admissions to hospital and days in hospital in the six months before input from the psychologist and in the six months after.
Results, which were presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress, showed that, prior to the appointments, the group had experienced 19 asthma admissions and 159 days in hospital.
After psychological support was introduced, these totals decreased to 10 admissions and 93 days in hospital - a 42pc reduction.
"People with severe asthma often experience symptoms that are difficult to treat and around 27pc are thought to experience psychological problems," Dr Burke said.
"There is current debate in the healthcare community about the best way to treat these people but, at present, it isn't routinely addressed by asthma healthcare professionals," she added.