The link between anxiety and this devastating skin condition

Do psoriasis and anxiety go hand-in-hand? Some research points at the two being jointly connected. Let’s take a look at the link between anxiety and psoriasis.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is common, long-term skin disease with no cure. It causes skin to turn red, with itchy scaly patches, according to the Mayo Clinic. Common symptoms include red patches covered with thick, silvery scales; dry, cracked skin that can bleed or itch; itching, burning and even soreness; swollen and stiff joints; thickened, pitted or ridged nails.

It’s most commonly formed on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp, but can also been found on your feet, lower back, face, and palms. Typically, psoriasis goes through cycles, meaning flare ups can happen for a few weeks or months before subsiding or going into remission.

Some research has determined that psoriasis and mental health conditions are strongly linked together, like one study that found that the age in which someone develops psoriasis can cause social anxiety and depression.

The reason behind the development of mental illness lies largely in one’s own appearances versus someone else’s. The study found that in cases when psoriasis develops before someone is 18, they experienced social anxiety due to feelings of stigmatization.

In cases that developed after someone was 18, people with psoriasis reported feeling socially anxious due to how they were perceived by others, which harmed their own self-view of themselves.

Additionally, stress and anxiety not only can contribute to someone developing psoriasis, but psoriasis can also trigger stress and anxiety from developing the skin disease, which can prevent lesions from healing quickly.

At work, this can create an uncomfortable situation for any employee dealing with psoriasis. Appearance does matter: it forces people to form their own opinion within seconds without even getting to know someone and it can even impact hiring (according to employees). Managers have said they’ve hired people solely on appearance alone.

Thus, feeling or looking different creates an anxiety. People with social anxieties tend to avoid family or friends due to feeling embarrassed about whatever is the root of the anxiety. Managing any form of anxiety can be tricky regardless but it can come from various sources, including a scheduled meeting with your boss, a job interview, or even going to a happy hour after work.

How to beat anxiety

For those suffering from psoriasis, there are plenty of references that can help people get over anxiety and social anxiety that can come with it. Breath work like meditation is often a mechanism used to fight through anxiety. Changing the way you think by not honing in on the negatives can also be a step.