Researchers from the New York University School of Medicine have found a link between psoriasis and risk of depression.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease which can appear as a rash on the skin. It can be quite itchy, and the skin may even bleed if it becomes dry and cracks. Due to its appearance, sufferers of psoriasis may be embarrassed to wear clothing which reveals the rash. As study author Dr. Roger Ho said, “Psoriasis patients are fearful of the public’s stigmatization of this visible disease and are worried about how people who are unfamiliar with the disease may perceive them or interact with them.”
Although findings are early, Ho suggests people should still be made aware of the connection between psoriasis and depression in order to prevent it.
Responses were analyzed from 12,000 American adults between 2009 and 2012 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Of the respondents, nearly three percent had psoriasis, and about eight percent had major depression. Among those with psoriasis, 16.5 percent showed symptoms that could be diagnosed as major depression.
After factoring for age, weight, sex, race, exercise, alcohol consumption and medical history, it was still revealed that those with psoriasis had double the odds of developing depression.
Dermatologist Dr. Delphine Lee said, “Patients with psoriasis should be aware that there are several other health issues associated with this condition, including cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, as well as psychological or psychiatric disorders.”
It’s suggested that aspects of dealing with psoriasis may contribute to depression. Psoriasis can hinder a person’s ability to wear t-shirts or shorts and attend dates or social gatherings, thus leaving them in isolation which can contribute to depression. Additionally, psoriasis is chronic, so your whole life you are working to treat and reduce the redness and the symptoms. This all can be very stressful and depressing.
Researchers suggest that those battling psoriasis should seek out mental health therapy in order to combat these negative feelings and find better ways to cope with the condition. They suggest psoriasis can lead to emotional and mental distress and not seeking help can make the condition worse.
The findings are expected to be presented at the American Academy of Dermatology in New York.