An individual aggressively scratches at plaques located on the neck

The Itch That Won’t Stop: Pruritus (And How It Relates To Psoriasis)

Pruritus. It sounds like a made-up word. To be fair so does psoriasis. If you haven't heard of the word or term pruritus before, trust me, you're not alone. It's a new concept to me too.

I am itching like crazy. It's not an uncommon feeling, but it seems more intense than ever before. Pruritus is just another, more mature term to describe intensely itchy skin. It is associated with a number of disorders, including psoriasis and related diseases.

A look at my own experience with pruritus

Pruritus is defined as an uncomfortable, irritating sensation that creates an urge to scratch that can involve any part of the body. I did not know anything about this whole new term, but yeah, that sensation is something I'm certainly familiar with.

A few years ago, the back of my neck was so chronically itchy - I didn't know what to do. It felt like a deep-rooted burning, and I had no relief. It was then I first learned about the clinical term pruritus. My doctor gave me antihistamines - still, the painful and constant itch remained.

My doctor explained that pruritus was directly related to my psoriasis condition and my raised plaques. Of course, that made sense, but how was I going to get this itch to stop?!

The emotional impact of this painful symptom

Pruritus was so intense I stopped going out. All I wanted to do was scratch my neck. It was horrible. My social circle was shrinking, and so was my outdoor life. I couldn’t get a grip on this tingling at the back of my neck. Everything was just blurred behind this scratching spree.

I remember discussing this painful symptom with my symptom yet again with tears running down my face. I have worked hard to build the life of my dreams. And suddenly, everything was crumbling into pieces because of some irresistible need to scratch my psoriatic plaques.

Since antihistamines crashed and burned, it was time to look at external factors. I needed to incorporate stress reduction into my life. It was adding to the intensity of my symptoms and could even cause new flares. Stress management sound impossible, but there are small things you can do to build up to a more stress-free outlook.

The desire to itch was running (and ruining) my life!

Stress reduction or stress management will not eliminate all stress, but it will quiet it. One thing I adopted was gratitude tracking. My main agenda from that day onwards was to find happy moments in my life and write them down.

I had to remind myself that my day was so much more than thinking about how badly I wanted to ease my itch. Even if I must scratch, so what? It does not make me any less worthy of happiness. I was in control of my own thoughts and actions - I chose not to let this painful itch run my life.

I also needed to find ways to physically treat the symptom as well. My go-to became ice packs. Consistent moisturizing helped too. My neck and outlook improved. It's hard to remember at the moment that not all symptoms are forever - as long as we continue to prioritize, recognize, and treatment to the best of our ability.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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