Physically painful, chronic psoriasis also can be emotionally hurtful. Learn how to cope with the emotional discomfort of the disease.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that causes skin cells to replicate at an accelerated pace. The cells build up on the surface of the skin to form plaques of lesions with flaky dead skin cells. Psoriasis can be debilitating and painful, but one of the most difficult symptoms to manage can be embarassment.
The emotional toll of psoriasis
Dealing with the emotional side of this chronic condition can be as challenging as managing the physical pain and discomfort. Psoriasis can alter your physical appearance radically and, during an outbreak, cause very noticeable sores.
If you have severe psoriasis, you know that the reactions of others to your appearance can take an enormous emotional toll. You may feel self-conscious about your appearance and have a poor self-image that stems from fear of public rejection. This can lead to social avoidance and isolation. Taking control will help. Get support from your family and friends, and consider a psoriasis support group, either locally or online. Ask for help! Sharing concerns will help you manage expectations and learn more about treatments; moreover, it will keep you from feeling emotionally isolated and stressed.
Because stress can trigger an episode, managing the emotional side of the disease is critical. Other stresses in your life may aggravate the condition, too. Try to identify the sources of your stress, and work on solutions to ease those tensions. You might enjoy a relaxing routine at the end of your day, for instance.
Meditation, exercise or a hobby you love are all helpful in managing stress. Try yoga, or lose yourself in painting, photography, cooking or other activities you especially enjoy.
For days when you suffer from the pain and embarrassment of a bad outbreak, be prepared with loose-fitting and attractive clothing that can hide most of the affected areas so you can face your day without the worry of drawing unwanted attention. Psoriasis support groups can help you learn effective coping techniques. Many people with chronic psoriasis find counseling and therapy helpful, as well.