Support a Loved One with Psoriasis
Last updated: August 2020
Living with psoriasis can be physically and mentally challenging. Due to the physical appearance of the plaques on their skin, support, and understanding from a loved one can go a really long way in treating and accepting the disease.
Do some research about psoriasis
You’re here which means you’re already working on this one! Psoriasis is an incredibly misunderstood disease. A lot of people still believe it is only dry skin and putting on some lotion will clear up. Some essential facts to know about psoriasis:
- Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, caused by an overactive immune system that causes inflammation in the body. The plaques and scales seen on the skin are visible signs of that inflammation and are caused by an overactive immune system that speeds up skin cell growth.1
- Doctors and scientists are currently still unclear about what causes it but know the immune system and genetics are involved.
- Psoriasis is NOT contagious.
- There is currently no cure, but there are ways to treat the symptoms of psoriasis.
- There are five types of psoriasis – plaque, guttate, pustular, inverse, and erythrodermic. That can make psoriasis look different on different people.
- Severity and location of psoriasis varies from person to person and from time to time.
Ask questions to learn more about psoriasis
Opening up a conversation where they feel safe talking about their psoriasis can make your loved one feel at ease. Instead of simply asking, “how are you?” be more specific and ask, “how is your psoriasis today?”
It gives them the opportunity to talk about any physical or emotional challenges they are facing and a chance for you to tell them that you are there for them. Ask them directly what support they want from you and how you can help.
Please tread lightly about offering any specific treatment advice, unless you are specifically asked. The treatment journey for a psoriasis patient can be long and frustrating to find the right plan but let them know you’re there to help if they’d like and can talk through options with them.
Team up for a healthy lifestyle
In addition to medical treatments, a healthy lifestyle can help to manage psoriasis symptoms so offer to be their partner in that part of their journey.
Whip up a dinner salad loading up on anti-inflammatory foods, such as fatty fish, berries, leafy greens, nuts, fruits, and olive oil. Propose a walk, do some yoga together, or whatever physical exercise that you like. A healthy lifestyle is incredibly beneficial for anyone, not just psoriasis patients, and having a teammate makes it even better!
Help a loved one with psoriasis to avoid and manage stress
One of the most common triggers for a psoriasis flare is stress. That healthy lifestyle mentioned above can also aid in managing stress with exercise.
If your loved one is getting stressed, look for other ways to help alleviate their load and help them relax. A psoriasis flare in itself causes more stress, so try to help them avoid that stress.
Connect with psoriasis support networks
The internet and social media have brought us a way to connect with psoriasis patients and caregivers from around the world. Join a support network to connect with other supporters and caregivers online to talk about how you’re feeling.
It’s frustrating to watch someone you care about in pain and that stress can impact you as well. Talking with others who are experiencing what you are can be incredibly helpful and give you more suggestions on ways to help care for your loved one and ways to support them.
Just be there for them. Listen, accept, and love. The best thing you can do for your loved one with psoriasis is be there for them and accept them. Psoriasis is not the single thing that defines a person. Psoriasis is a part of who they are and the person you love.
Because you’re here and putting in this work, it’s clear that you are already there for them they are lucky to have you on their team!
Are you recently diagnosed with psoriasis?