The Impact of Psoriasis on Quality of Life
Psoriasis affects about 2 percent of the world’s population. In the US, there are about 250,000 new cases a year.1 The condition can affect how you see yourself and how you are seen. This can damage your quality of life (QOL) and mental health.
How does psoriasis impact quality of life?
What is “quality of life?” The term “quality of life” (QOL) has both medical and nonmedical meanings. It is affected by and affects things like income, happiness, marriage, and religion.2 Health-related QOL refers to how your health affects your interests or goals.2 It also reflects your overall well-being.
Psoriasis is associated with: Social stigma, pain, discomfort, physical disability and emotional/mental distress2 Nearly 75 percent of people with psoriasis say it harms their QOL.1 At least 20 percent of those with psoriasis had thought about suicide.1
Emotional impact of a chronic condition
There is no cure for psoriasis. Knowing this may cause hopelessness or frustration. You may be worried about an outbreak interfering with plans. Lack of control over the disease can contribute to these emotions.1
Self-image and appearance
Feeling self-conscious about your appearance can be distressing.1 You may be embarrassed when your skin is exposed – when you are swimming, being intimate, or sharing a living space. Many people with psoriasis feel like they need to hide their disease.1
The impact of psoriasis on depression, stress, and anxiety is high. In fact, it is higher than that of other skin conditions like acne, fungal infections, and eczema.1,2
Psoriasis can affect one’s work. Almost 60 percent of those with psoriasis miss a significant amount of work because of it.1 The cost of psoriasis treatment can also be very high.1
What can you do to cope with psoriasis and its impact?
The impact of psoriasis on QOL does not resolve with remission.1 Your doctor should work with you to address any QOL concerns. This includes any impact of psoriasis on your mental health.
Learning more about psoriasis can help you explain it to others. This can reduce the social stigma of the condition. Find people with whom you can express yourself. A trusted friend can listen to your concerns and provide support and help. A counselor, support group, or online community can help you feel less alone.
A good relationship with your doctor is important. Many people living with psoriasis are frustrated not only with their disease but with their care. If you are not happy with your doctor, seek a second opinion.
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