A Look At The Mental Health Burden in Psoriatic Patients
Last updated: June 2023
If you have read a few of my articles, then you know, one topic I occasionally write about is the impact psoriasis can have on mental health. Why? Because long story short, it is something we all face, manage and deal with.
Every single one of us with psoriasis has managed the mental health implication - perhaps it made the heaviest impression at diagnosis. For me, my mental health challenges came with failure - the failure of my first biologic.
Understanding the emotional toll
However, the story goes, we all have psoriasis in common. With psoriasis comes additional challenges - the emotional toll, the stigma, the impact of living with a lifelong condition and yes, the mental health implication.
I recently attended an event in which part of the presentation took a look at mental health, its burden, and its impact on psoriatic patients. It was so compelling to that I thought I would share it with you. Mental health wellness is such an integral part of living with psoriasis but often times it is overlooked.
What does the research say?
On October 2, 2021, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) held its virtual community conference. One of the highlights of the conference was its research symposium. The presenter broke down the research into three categories.
The first was on clinical research and healthcare disparities. The second was on transitional research. The third and most important I felt, was on past Perspective and future directions. It was here that the presenter showed a startling chart on the mental health disease burden of psoriatic disease.
A look at major depression
The first chart was on major depression. These charts compared regular patients to those of psoriatic patients. Remember back in the first paragraph I said my mental health had taken a bad turn when the first biologic failed? Well, this chart showed that of those with psoriasis on a biologic that had major depression, it was only prevalent in 8.1% of them.
It doubled for psoriatic patients with a failed biologic - to a whopping 16.5%. That statistic hit me right between the eyes. How many doctors do you think would even consider major depression being that high in psoriatic patients?1
Depression is a spectrum
Of the psoriasis patients, it was deemed that 18.5% of them were depressed to some mild degree. However, I must tell you I kind of doubted this next part of it.
The chart showed that when it comes to psoriatic patients, those with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, 25% of us have some minor depression.2 I don't know about you but even on a good day, I can tend to have some form of minor depression when looking at my skin. I really believe that the 25% should have been a lot more.
The final chart was on suicidal thoughts
This one really caught my attention. Those with psoriatic disease came in at 9.7%.2 Again I think I strongly disagree with this number. I would have thought it would have been much, much higher.
This is not to startle anyone but I keep all my writing as true as I can. There have been two times in my life when I had these thoughts. One was the time when that biologic failed and I did not know what my future would hold. The other had nothing to do with psoriasis.
If you need help, get it.
There is nothing wrong with getting help if you are experiencing any of these. Everyday life can be hard. It definitely is made harder by the fact that we have psoriasis. There will be down days that much is certain. What is also certain is that there are brighter days ahead as well. Let's all strive to get to those brighter days together.
Does your psoriasis management change with the seasons?