A majority of people dismiss Psoriasis as an unsightly skin condition. However, those who suffer from this medical condition are aware of the psychological impact it has on their lives.
The International Federation of Psoriasis Association (IFPA) has revealed that about 3% of the global population has some form of psoriasis. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) states that around 7.5 million Americans are affected by the condition.
Identified by red inflammation on the skin, Psoriasis is a result of an abnormal growth of skin cells. This leads to lesions on the skin’s outer layer, defined by stages of scaling, thickening and redness. The condition is usually accompanied by sensations of itching.
Anyone who suffers from this condition would hope to zero in on the triggers and get rid of Psoriasis. However, the exact causes of Psoriasis are unknown. There could be several potential causes for the condition, ranging from genetic and immunological, to psychological and environmental. Nonetheless, it is believed that smoking, alcohol, infections, stress and certain medications can act as triggers. Even seemingly everyday occurrences like bruising, bug bites, chafing, cuts and scrapes, or boils could set off an imminent Psoriasis attack.
Psoriasis has a detrimental psychological impact on patients – like, low self-esteem, poor relations with family, friends, partner and colleagues, depression and suicidal tendencies, decreased vocational and career opportunities due to discrimination, and increased stress leading to a flare-up of the condition.
Although the scale of the skin disorder varies from person to person and goes from being mild to severe, the discomfort, embarrassment and psychological consequences of the condition can be far-reaching and prolonged.
Treatment for the skin disorder begins with consulting a doctor, who may first suggest topical creams for psoriasis treatment. Depending on the severity, doctors may also advise prescription medicine for psoriasis.
However, to deal with the psychological effects, one may need counselling, relaxation therapies and participation in support groups.