Psoriasis and Stress Connection
Stress and psoriasis are inextricably linked. When your skin is in such poor condition as is caused by this disease, you will not be feeling good and it usually results in stress. Unfortunately, stress is also a primary trigger for the skin condition that causes lesions and red patches that are scaly. Is there no break in this vicious cycle?
The stress resulting from psoriasis comes from factors such as lowered self-esteem due to visible damage to the skin and how other people react to the way psoriasis looks. The fact that psoriasis is painful and the itching can drive you crazy. It gets enhanced by the fact that expensive treatments are not only time-consuming, but do not have any kind of effectiveness warranty. The first incident of psoriasis often rears its ugly head when a patient is already under stressful conditions, and many patients say that stress continues to be an aggravating factor.
55 year old Leah Bird from Massachusetts first suffered from psoriasis right from the age of twelve, with her palms and soles of her feet being the main problem areas. She says that the cracking and flaking caused her many problems and affected the quality of life.
Studies show that psoriasis patients tend to have higher levels of cortisol, a hormone released during stress that affects the immune system. However, in 2008 a study by International Journal of Dermatology demonstrated that during remissions, 75% of psoriasis patients had a drop in cortisol levels.
So what can you do to help relieve your psoriasis? Learning how to manage your stress is a key factor. Find what works for you, maybe writing in a journal, getting a massage, guided imagery, or practicing breathing exercises. Physical exercise is also very beneficial, and some forms, such as yoga, are touted for relaxation benefits. Try to simplify your life. Figure out what items on your agenda are of high priority, and which you could cross off completely. Free up some ‘me-time’ for doing things that you enjoy. You may also find support groups or go for counseling as it really helps you. Talking to people who can advise and give suggestions can make a positive difference in your stress levels.
If none of the above seems to help, it may be the time to consult your health care provider, who may have additional suggestions or prescribe medication.