‘Psoriasis likely to recur if patients have anxiety, depression’

New Delhi: Psoriasis, a skin condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches, has high chances of recurrence if the patient is subject to anxiety and depression, say doctors.

According to the doctors, stigma attached to the skin disease also contributes towards its recurrence. Nearly 84 per cent people suffering from moderate-to-severe psoriasis face discrimination and humiliation, with at least 40 per cent of them witnessing unwelcoming glares in public spaces.

“Psoriasis has a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life. As long as there is a stigma attached to these conditions, patients will continue to have flare ups induced by emotional distress as anxiety and depression are major causes of psoriasis recurrences,” Rajiv Sekhri, Consultant Dermatologist at Fortis hospital said on Wednesday.

The doctors also said that at least 18 per cent of the patients have been frequently asked whether their condition is communicable, pointing to a grave lack of awareness on the disease.

Psoriasis is a skin condition that changes the life cycle of skin cells. It causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form thick, silver scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful. It is a persistent, long-lasting disease.

Stating that the psoriasis can affect personal lives and mental health, Sekhri said a survey conducted last year showed 36 per cent people admitted to feeling ashamed of their skin and the way they look.

“Forty eight per cent of the patients interviewed shared that psoriasis has impacted their professional life and 30 per cent of them feel that psoriasis has impacted past or current relationships. These results reflect lack of hope and self-esteem, with 31 per cent of people stating that they do not believe clear or almost clear skin is an achievable goal for them,” said Sekhri quoting the global survey of 8,300 people with psoriasis.

Sonal Soin, Medical Director and founder of city based Aayna Clinic said that awareness as well as acceptance is very low for psoriasis among patients as well as society.

“Most of the people think it is contagious and avoid shaking hands or eating with patients suffering from the condition. Psoriasis is not contagious, one cannot pass the skin condition from one person to another,” she said.

“Creating awareness about psoriasis can help improve the quality of life of psoriasis patients,” Soin added.