While it’s what’s inside the counts, having a chronic skin condition can significantly impact a person’s self-esteem. With so many people suffering from skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and rosacea, the field of psychodermatology is rapidly growing to address their mental health needs. When one doesn’t feel good physically, it can greatly impact mental health.
Many people with chronic skin conditions also live with a chronic mental illness, like depression. Of the nearly 4.5 million adults in the United States with psoriasis, 5 per cent reported that they have had suicidal thoughts. Another 26 per cent have had to drastically change their lifestyle after their psoriasis diagnosis.
Teens Are More At Risk
Teens with chronic skin conditions are even more likely to suffer long-term psychological affects because of their diagnosis. Recent studies have shown that teens with acne are more likely to suffer from depression. In fact, nearly 40 per cent of adolescents with a skin condition like acne reported having some psychological difficulties, including depression or suicidal thoughts.
This can affect their school and home life, and lead to social withdrawal, isolation, ultimately having a negative impact on their future and goals. People that suffer from chronic skin conditions are even more likely to be unemployed during adulthood.
What Is Psychodermatology?
Those that work in the field of psychodermatology are focused on treating the patient from the inside out. They provide patients with psychological support by helping them reduce stress and anxiety through psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. Since stress can actually make certain skin conditions worse, addressing the underlying reasons that the patient is experiencing stress and anxiety can even help control the skin condition.
Some patients may have anxiety that manifests in different physical forms, such as scratching or picking at their acne or rashes. In these cases, a psychodermatologist may try to help the patient reverse or stop these bad habits through a combination of different therapies.
Psychodermatologists can also help a patient build confidence and respond better in social situations, which can have a positive impact on their personal and professional relationships.
Since many people experience some type of skin problem in their lifetime, whether it is a chronic skin condition or wrinkles as they age, the psychological affects of a skin condition should not be ignored. Having healthy skin can build confidence and is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
When a person discovers a skin condition, addressing it immediately both medically and psychologically can go a long way in reducing mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.