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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year millions of adults are impacted by mental health issues. This could be a personal experience living with a mental or emotional health condition or being impacted by a friend or family member who is struggling with a mental health diagnosis. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we hope to hear from our community members about the ways you cope, manage and find support to stay emotionally healthy.

Living with a chronic autoimmune condition, such as plaque psoriasis, can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. The physical symptoms of psoriasis can be debilitating and difficult to cope with. The psychological effects of living with psoriasis such as stigmatization, self-consciousness and feelings of helplessness can be just as difficult to manage and may not always be as obvious as the disease itself. Our Psoriasis In America 2016 survey found that 81% of participants stated they have been depressed by their psoriasis. Research also suggests that people diagnosed with psoriasis are at an increased risk for depression. 1 With all this in mind it is important to remember to find ways to care for yourself and to know that you are not alone in this journey of living with a chronic life-long condition.

We’ve rounded up three reminders in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month to remind us all to care for ourselves and work towards maintaining emotional well-being.

Balance stress

stress
Stress can be a cyclical trigger. Stress in one’s life can cause psoriatic symptoms to worsen. In turn, the flare can cause worsening of emotional concerns. You may not be able to eliminate all stress from day to day life, being able to find techniques that will allow you to handle stressful situations and balance life’s ups and downs may help.

Seek support

support
Coping with the emotional toll of psoriasis is just as important as caring for the physical aspects of the condition. It can take effort and often it can be helpful to seek support from others. This may be joining a support group or joining an online community where you can engage with others dealing with psoriasis, such as the community at plaquepsoriasis.com. This also may mean finding professional help from a licensed mental health professional.

Keep up with medical appointments

appointment
Managing your condition and keeping an open line of communication with your medical team is important. Keeping in contact with your doctor or specialist is important so your team can adjust your treatment plan based on your feedback. Treatments may have side effects and sharing how treatments are affecting you is important- your team won’t know how you are feeling or how a treatment is affecting you, unless you communicate that to them. Feeling depressed or socially isolated may make attending needed appointments hard, staying in touch with the team who is treating your psoriasis can be an important aspect of staying healthy both physically and emotionally.

Most importantly know you are not alone in this journey. What advice do you have for managing your mental health? Let us know by posting in our forums, sharing your story, or connect with us on Facebook!

  1. 1Dalgard  FJ, Gieler  U, Tomas-Aragones  L,  et al.  The psychological burden of skin diseases: a cross-sectional multicenter study among dermatological out-patients in 13 European countries.  J Invest Dermatol. 2015;135(4):984-991
  2. 2. Kurd  SK, Troxel  AB, Crits-Christoph  P, Gelfand  JM.  The risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidality in patients with psoriasis: a population-based cohort study.  Arch Dermatol. 2010;146(8):891-895.

Comments

  • mistie333
    2 years ago

    I am so thankful for this community of people that share the same problems as I do with Psoriasis. I had the problem for years only on my knuckles and elbows. It was very little and I could put oil on it and it would help control it. As I aged I developed high blood pressure. One of my Doctors decided to change one of my blood pressure medicine and put me on a new one, Low and behold it made my Psoriasis break out fully covering every inch of my body. I went to two different skin Doctors and they both had never seen such terrible coverage. They listed me as being very serious and critical. I had several different “types” of Psoriasis. They then had me sitting under UVB lights – that didn’t work….then I sat under UVA lights – it did help a little, but I had to cover up my total body just to go to the Dr. office because I could not get any sunlight on my skin. I finally gave up on that. I immediately quit taking the new medicine and returned to my old blood pressure meds. I then found out that blood pressure medicine can throw your body into the Psoriasis problem. I also have kidney cancer. Ten years ago I had kidney cancer and had my left kidney removed – then last year they found three spots in my lung that turned out to be from my kidney that was removed ten years ago. Renal cell carcin…. I was on chemo which failed, but I am now on immunotherapy drug that is still in research. It is called “Opdivo” and I have an infusion through a “port” every other week. The opdivo has made my renal cells get much smaller and so far, the last year, has not gotten any bigger. My cat scans show it has gotten much smaller. The opdivo builds up my immune system and really pushes the immune system to work overtime. So far my Psoriasis is not getting worse. I feel the Pedi roller I am using is what is controlling my Psoriasis. Sorry to spill all my problems out to you….but I hope this might help some of you. I will let you know how the immunotherapy works. I have to take it for the rest of my life, as it Is keeping my kidney cancer under control. They were afraid it would make my Psoriasis even that much worse. (Go figure)……..since it is supposed to be an immune system problem. Anyway I hope to hear from all of you with this problem. I will be most happy to share any info I can with any of you…..thanks for listening…..oh yes – – and I am on an anti-depressant – – I couldn’t make it with out that. So anyone out there, please think about getting an anti-depressant – it really helps.

  • RebeccaB moderator
    2 years ago

    And WE are so glad you found US! Definitely keep us posted on the immunotherapy – and thank you for sharing your experiences and encouragement 🙂

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