It’s an unfortunate part of a chronic illness, as psoriasis is not just skin deep and may cause depression in patients, who are already under stigmatization from both the public and themselves. It’s a common skin condition that is suffering from little public awareness and lack of knowledge about its effects, and it causes damage far deeper than the skin.
Psoriasis causes raised red patches of skin commonly across the back, arms, knees, hands, feet or scalp of the patient, with white flecks that are called scales. Depending on the affected area, it can be highly visible, especially during the summers when the scorching heat demands thinner, shorter clothes with more skin exposure.
The condition is perhaps unsightly and itchy, and while it’s not in the slightest infectious, it can ultimately alter the life condition of patients who can develop depression due to self-image problems and the general reactions of those around them, according to Dr. Roger Ho, assistant professor of dermatology at New York University, School of Medicine.
The study has been conducted on over 12,000 adults in the United States, among which almost 3% suffered from psoriasis. Throughout the number of adults diagnosed with the common condition, 16.5% showed symptoms of undergoing major depression, which was double than those who reported no such illness.
No matter sex, gender, age or other existing conditions, patients with psoriasis are highly encouraged to getting screened for depression, along with friends and family to keep an eye out for possible signs. According to Dr. Tien Nguyen, a dermatologist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, some patients have also expressed suicidal thoughts or attempts at suicide.
It’s a crippling condition that is highly impacting on the person’s quality of life. Dr. Doris Day, dermatologist at Lennox Hill Hospital, states that it can severely affect the patient’s self-esteem. It’s a chronic condition, which means that once treatment stops, it will reoccur and it may get worse with time.
The stress of worrying about its aspect, itchiness and overall public opinion causes the condition to worsen, which in turns triggers more stress. It’s a vicious circle that most patients with psoriasis have a hard time evading. They also present with the higher possibilities of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, as well as psychological distress.
Some patients refuse to wear more revealing clothes that would offer a peek on their condition, refuse to go on dates due to embarrassment or even worry about passing over the illness to their children.
It’s a daily struggle, so patients with psoriasis are advised to never stop treatment, continue their visits to a dermatologist and get screened for depression, and patiently wait, as advancements in medicine are made every day and new, risk-free medications could make their way onto the market.
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