Stress and psoriasis seem to go together. Stress can make psoriasis worse, and psoriasis can make you stressed. But there are ways to ease stress that may help your psoriasis, too. A therapist can help you manage some of the hard emotional issues that stem from life with psoriasis. A therapist can also teach you useful ways to calm stress. Physical and mental stress can make the body release certain chemical messengers that can cause pain, itching, and inflammation. Psoriasis can affect your emotions. Stress can trigger a psoriasis flare-up, and a psoriasis flare can cause more stress. Doctors and researchers do not yet fully understand what causes this condition, but it is thought to occur when the immune system turns on the body, causing skin cells to grow abnormally and rapidly. Feeling self-conscious or worried about these physical symptoms increases emotional stress, which can cause psoriasis to flare even more.
At the same time, a psoriasis flare can cause stress. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation’s Mental Health Issue Brief, psoriasis is independently associated with stress-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Woman, in particular, seem particularly vulnerable to stress due to psoriasis. How can you break this vicious cycle? Emotional stress may influence the development and exacerbation of psoriasis. Just as in many dermatologic conditions, psoriasis appears to worsen with stress in a significant segment of patients. Emotional stress may influence the development and exacerbation of psoriasis. 3 Just as in many dermatologic conditions, psoriasis appears to worsen with stress in a significant segment of patients. As psoriasis can cause considerable stress for patients and increased levels of stress are likely to exacerbate psoriasis, the disease process, thus, becomes a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle.
For people with psoriasis, acne, dermatitis and other chronic inflammatory skin conditions with an emotional component, distressing flare-ups may seem to appear overnight in response to increased anxiety and pressure. For people with psoriasis, acne, dermatitis and other chronic inflammatory skin conditions with an emotional component, distressing flare-ups may seem to appear overnight in response to increased anxiety and pressure. We’ve known for decades that stress can cause or aggravate skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, acne, hives, dermatitis and herpes, though stress is not the sole antagonist of skin health. Psoriasis can be very vexing, with scaly, thick patches of skin covering large parts of the body. A 2010 study found that those with psoriasis are at a much greater risk of depression, thoughts of suicide, and anxiety. Unfortunately, stress is a big trigger for outbreaks of psoriasis. These types of injuries can even occur in everyday activities such as shaving or tending to a garden. Emotional stress may influence the development and exacerbation of psoriasis. Although a pathogenic association appears likely, additional well-controlled studies are necessary to confirm such a causal relationship. Dysregulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal and sympathetic adrenomedullary systems has been proposed as one possible underlying cause of stress-induced flares of psoriasis.
Life With Psoriasis: Stress
It appears as red, raised scaly patches known as plaques. Any part of the skin surface may be involved but the plaques most commonly appear on the elbows, knees and scalp. The severity of the disease does not always relate to the severity of anxiety that an individual will have. Although stress does not cause psoriasis, it can trigger a flare-up. In other words, the lesions appear in the same place on the right and left halves of the body. Lesions vary in size and in configuration from patient to patient. Does emotional stress cause Psoriasis to appear? Psychological Factors – Psoriasis may appear for the first time during a period of stress but more importantly, emotional stress frequently exacerbates psoriasis in a person who already has the disorder. Pregnancy – Psoriasis frequently goes into remission during pregnancy but also, it often appears for the first time after delivery. It makes sense, then, that emotional trouble might show up as skin trouble. Although cause and effect can be difficult to pin down, considerable data suggest that at least in some people, stress and other psychological factors can activate or worsen certain skin conditions. Research also suggests that chronic negative stress can disrupt the function of the skin’s permeability barrier, which normally keeps out harmful substances and prevents the loss of fluid from skin cell layers. Information about what causes Psoriasis and what effect does psoriasis have on peoples’ lives. 5 As a result of reactions from the public, they can feel embarrassed, have poor self-image and have lower self-confidence.6Psychological distress can lead to significant depression, increased anxiety, and social disconnection and isolation. It is often triggered by emotional stress or trauma or sometimes by an illness.
A change in the skin can indicate psychological arousal. The problem is that psoriasis itself can cause stress. The next step is to identify your triggersthose things that seem to encourage flare-upsand try to limit those in your life. Scalp psoriasis causes raised, scaly red patches that may spread beyond the scalp to the forehead or back of the neck or ears. Psoriasis classically appears on the elbows and knees, but it can affect any part of the skin. The psychological toll of a chronic, incurable skin condition like psoriasis can be very heavy indeed. While everyone knows that stress can take a toll on a person physically and psychologically, it also can lead to dermatologic problems, such as acne, brittle nails or even hair loss. In treating hundreds of patients over the years with skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne and psoriasis, I have seen firsthand how stress can aggravate the skin and trigger unexpected flare-ups that, in effect, create more stress for patients, said Dr. Learning how to manage the effects of stress on your skin can help alleviate some of the anxiety and symptoms.