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4 Common Challenges of Psoriasis

I've lived with psoriasis for over two decades. The challenges with psoriasis can seem endless. However, although the obstacles of psoriasis never completely disappear, I've learned how to manage and cope. Here are four challenges of psoriasis and how I manage to solve them.

The challenges of finding the right doctor

Have you ever walked into a doctor's office frustrated and left out even more hopeless? These feelings of defeat and disappointment sometimes make you want to give up on trying to combat this disease. The feelings could have arisen due to the lack of answers, the non-empathic reactions from the staff, or the lack of due diligence from your doctor.

I have seen dozen of doctors, many who didn't give me the results I so desperately needed. Finding the right doctor not only helped me manage my disease, but it also had a significant effect on my quality of life.

How to find a doctor who is right for you

Contact the National Psoriasis Foundation Patient (NPF) Navigation Center. The NPF maintains a database of doctors who have a passion specifically for psoriasis. Find a doctor who does more research than cosmetic surgery. Find a doctor who specializes in dermatoepidemiology, I promise you will have better results.

Overcome the psoriasis treatment challenge

It took me about 18 years to find the right treatment. Part of my challenges included age, insurance limitations, step therapy, poor success rates, the inconvenience of treatment, and a general fear of the side effects for certain options.

The other downside to finding a treatment is the longevity of it working. For me, my biologics typically stop working after two years of use, but everyone's experience is different.

If no results, stop use

There was a time I was so desperate for a treatment to work, that I would use it for up to a year even though I never saw results. If you are using a treatment and don't see a change between 3-6 months, most likely, the treatment is not going to be effective for you. Talk to your doctor about switching; don't waste valuable time and money.

In fear of the psoriasis flare

There are many more emotions I’ve felt due to psoriasis. What has helped me thus far is acknowledging these emotions, giving myself self-care, and sharing how I feel with trust people especially others living with psoriasis. Psoriasis moved into my life and brought along all of its baggage which included emotional, mental, and quality of life distress.

As a person growing up with psoriasis most of these emotions had a unique place in my life and in my mind were there to either help me to reason, to protect me, or to give me a “reality check.” As I stumbled into adulthood I realize these negative emotions were doing more harm than good and today I work to let them go.

Learn and forgive your triggers

The symptoms of psoriasis vary from person to person, and each person’s own psoriasis “triggers” can be different. There are some triggers that are common among people with plaque psoriasis. These include infections, skin injuries, and certain medications. Track your triggers and take a look at how they are connected. Forgive yourself when you find yourself flaring.

Overcoming rude comments

Rude comments are one of the worst "side effects" of dealing with this disease. Sometimes it can come from someone you love who is unaware of how hurtful they are being, and other times it can come from a stranger who doesn't think you can hear them, or the person who doesn't care or consider your feelings.

This depends on where you are mentally with your disease. If you aren't scared to speak up, then confronting someone about your condition comes naturally to you. However, if you find this to be a challenge, I suggest carrying business cards that provides quick facts of psoriasis.

Educate

You can discreetly pass this information on to people who need it. I call it silent education. Reach out to a support group. Let's say for whatever reason, you couldn't speak up, make sure you share your feelings with a psoriasis support group or therapist. You don't have to deal with those feelings alone; there is a listening hear ready to hear your pain.

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