The Psychological Costs Of Psoriasis

Psoriasis has physical symptoms that make life less than enjoyable, from the severe itching to the red skin. Even its treatment can be expensive, as well as take too much of your time, an inconvenient fact of life for most patients.  

But psoriasis isn’t just about the physical symptoms – it’s also about the psychological toll!

Starting a Vicious Cycle

Psoriasis, unfortunately, can be a frustrating and embarrassing skin disease even during mild flare-ups. Due to its appearance, it can be mistaken for an infectious disease like leprosy so patients can be shunned by others. Such ignorance can be difficult to overcome, too, because people with psoriasis feel ashamed about their condition.

If you have it, you may be hard-pressed to explain your condition to other people because of their frightened reaction. You may, for example, not be allowed to chop vegetables, swim in the pool, and even be in the same room due to fears of infection.  

And so you may feel isolated from your family and friends that, in turn, undermines your confidence in yourself. You will likely have a difficult time handling your emotions in a healthy manner, especially when you’re in chronic discomfort.

The vicious cycle of stress making psoriasis worse and psoriasis creating stress begins – and it will not stop until you take matters into your own hands. Aside from the physical and mental stress related to psoriasis, you are also putting yourself at a higher risk of depression.  

Putting the Brakes on the Cycle

The good news: Psoriasis can be effectively managed with a combination of medications (e.g., Remicade), lifestyle habits, and psychotherapy. You should be an active participant in your own treatment including dealing with the psychological fallout of your flare-ups.

A few things that you can do to stop the vicious cycle:

  • Educate your family and friends about psoriasis. You have to emphasize that it’s an incurable lifelong condition but it isn’t infectious. You’re also getting treatments for it, a fact that will allay their fears.  
  • Adopt an attitude of confidence wherever you may be. You can’t always explain your condition to everybody so it’s sometimes best to ignore the stares and go about your life. You have a right to enjoy your life as much as the next person so just get right to it.  
  • Get support from your fellow patients. You can even become a member of an online support group in case you don’t have one in your area.

If necessary, you should also seek professional help if you’re feeling depressed. You can live the life you choose even when psoriasis gets in the way sometimes – you just need to be among supportive people.