Research

Depression and anxiety affect silicosis sufferers

Research has shown that the health consequences of dust diseases go further than physical effects.

In addition to the effects on their lungs, people living with silicosis and other forms of dust disease are at risk of psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety. The research shows a clear link between lung diseases caused by inhaling dust particles like silica and mental illness. 

Aneka Srinivasan, project lead of Mental Health Foundation of Australia, says that this is no surprise when the upheavals and anguish accompanying a diagnosis of silicosis or asbestosis are factored in. “The development of psychological issues is quite commonly seen and if we consider dust diseases, which can affect lung function, someone diagnosed with silicosis might have to stay at home more because of their condition, completely stop work or stop doing what they love,” she said. 

Research shows psychological conditions often emerge after the initial diagnosis, which is a problem for people seeking compensation, particularly when they are required to pursue claims for damages. There are two issues: 

  • first, the nature of anxiety and depression often means these conditions are difficult to treat because they are connected to the diagnosis of a dust disease, which is irreversible and largely untreatable;
  • second, in many states in Australia, different time limits apply to when a worker is required to bring a damages claim for their dust disease and their psychological injury.

Read more: The New Daily  

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