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Psoriasis: The Unspoken Pain

shutterstock_174169535-300x200Psoriasis is a genetic skin condition that causes inflammation and irritation of the skin and often appears as red, itchy, and dry patches. The visibility of the symptoms can make many individuals feel self-conscious, and the psychological effects can be pronounced, often impacting emotions and diminishing quality of life. There is no cure for psoriasis; however, there are many effective treatments that allow individuals to minimize outbreaks and clear the skin for long periods of time. To help individuals experiencing this common problem, Dr. Shehla Ebrahim has provided a helpful resource on some of the hidden effects of psoriasis as well as various treatment options.

According to a survey conducted by the National Psoriasis Foundation:

  • 70% of responders reported feeling self-conscious about their psoriasis
  • 41% disclosed that they would dress to conceal their lesions
  • 56% said that psoriasis prevents them from fully enjoying life
  • 60% admitted that psoriasis was a major complication in their lives

Studies suggest that the psychological effects of having psoriasis may be equivalent to experiencing heart failure or cancer

Another study, conducted with a large population sample, reported that individuals suffering from psoriasis are at an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide

The same study found 10% of psoriasis patients have experienced suicidal ideation as a result of having psoriasis

Psoriasis can be incredibly difficult to live with; however, there are a multitude of treatments available to help improve the skin condition and assist individuals in achieving a greater sense of confidence and increased mental health. In addition to medical options, other potential psoriasis therapies include:

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy, which studies have reported has significant benefits both psychologically and in lessening the number of treatments required to clear outbreaks.
  • Changes in diet. Adding fatty fish and fish oil to the diet has shown to improve symptoms. Additionally, Vitamin D and the use of moisturizers and emollients have also typically proven to be helpful.
  • Stress management practices can also help to provide relief when combined with traditional modalities, including practicing guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, self hypnosis, yoga, and tai chi.

Managing this common skin condition can be difficult, but there are many resources available for patients. The National Psoriasis Foundation is a non-profit organization that offers information, support, research, and advocacy assistance for individuals with psoriasis. They also offer a peer mentoring program that pairs the newly diagnosed or struggling with trained mentors. The website can also be an excellent resource for meeting other people with psoriasis and finding support and information.

A psoriasis diagnosis can feel overwhelming, but there are many avenues for assistance and advanced treatment methods available. For more information about psoriasis, or if you wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ebrahim, please contact us today.

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