Is Psoriasis Linked to Anxiety?

Medically Reviewed on 6/20/2022
Is Psoriasis Linked to Anxiety
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that primarily affects the skin, which can cause many to develop anxiety about their appearance

Like other chronic conditions, psoriasis can take a toll on your emotional health. Anxiety can trigger or worsen psoriasis, and psoriasis can cause anxiety, creating a cyclical relationship.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that primarily affects the skin, which can cause many to develop feelings of embarrassment or self-consciousness.

How can psoriasis cause anxiety?

  • Skin lesions: Psoriatic skin lesions can cause significant shame that can affect your social, professional, and personal life. Many people find that the disease makes it difficult to socialize and work with others due to stress about their appearance.
  • Medication side effects: Many affected patients report frustration with the look, feel, and smell of the topical medications for psoriasis, which can draw unwanted attention from others. Side effects such as skin thinning and bleeding can also cause significant emotional stress
  • Need for frequent checkups: Psoriasis treatment requires long-term follow-up. Blood tests may be needed at regular intervals to check for comorbidities or inflammatory markers. All of this can cause considerable anxiety.
  • Stress of avoiding triggers: Psoriasis has numerous triggers, including certain foods, weather conditions, and skin injuries. Constant fear or worry about these triggers can cause people to avoid certain situations and cause anxiety.
  • Risk of complications: Psoriasis can lead to various complications, including skin infections, hair loss (scalp psoriasis), arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases. Some people with the condition develop psoriatic arthritis, which can be quite painful and negatively affect quality of life. These related diseases can lead to stress, depression, and anxiety.
  • Inflammation: Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, meaning that the immune system attacks and damages healthy tissues in the body. This results in a heightened inflammatory response and the release of inflammatory mediators or cytokines in the body, which can affect the brain and lead to anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances.

How to manage anxiety with psoriasis

Anxiety can trigger or worsen psoriasis, and psoriasis can trigger or worsen anxiety. Although it can be overwhelming, you can take steps to manage both conditions with proper treatment and lifestyle measures.

  • Take psoriasis medications as prescribed. Psoriasis medications keep skin lesions in check and can help manage inflammation inside your body. By keeping your skin symptoms under control, you can help keep anxiety at bay.
  • Try to reduce stress. Practice relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and listening to music.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Frequent psoriasis flares can leave you feeling frustrated. Discuss your concerns with your doctor and ask whether more effective therapies can be recommended. 
  • Seek the help of a qualified mental health expert. Consult a psychiatrist or a counselor to talk about your feelings and find strategies to cope with your condition.
  • Educate yourself about the disease. Learn about the risks, triggers, and treatment options. Join support groups for psoriasis. Psoriasis is not contagious, and learning more about the disease can help reduce the stigma around the disease and help make you feel more in control.
  • Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep and rest are essential to managing psoriasis and anxiety.
  • Eat healthy and stay active. Eating a nutritious diet. Avoid alcohol and smoking. Exercise regularly. Leading a healthy lifestyle can help you reduce psoriasis symptoms and reduce your anxiety.

QUESTION

Psoriasis causes the top layer of skin cells to become inflamed and grow too quickly and flake off. See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 6/20/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

Marek-Józefowicz L, Jaracz M, Placek W, Czajkowski R, Borkowska A. Cognitive impairment in patients with severe psoriasis. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2017;34(2):120-125. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5420603/

Healthtalk. Psoriasis (young people). https://healthtalk.org/psoriasis/emotions-mental-health-and-having-psoriasis-overview

National Psoriasis Foundation. When Psoriasis Impacts the Mind. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/when-psoriasis-impacts-the-mind/