The Dermatology Times recently revealed a study that seems to connect depression with psoriasis. Patients with psoriasis seem to have a much higher risk of developing major depressive disorders than those without the affliction. Thanks to this new information, doctors may be able to warn their patients about the risk and recommend preventative measures.

The Severity of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a persistent skin condition which occurs when skin cells multiply much faster than normal. In some sufferers, the cell replication rate is up to 10 times faster than that of normal skin. Lower cells are pushed up to the surface of the skin by the rapidly growing new cells, and those extruded, dying cells become unsightly patches of red plaque, coated in scaly white bits of skin. The worst evidence of psoriasis shows up on a person’s scalp, elbows, and knees, although it can afflict the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, and the torso as well.

Plaque psoriasis is the most common variation. Instead of having smooth, normal skin, a sufferer lives with silvery-white, thick patches of skin and reddened, itchy, painful plaques. The skin may crack and bleed, causing more discomfort. The person’s hair becomes difficult to manage properly because of the crusty, scaly patches on the scalp. Toenails and fingernails may become discolored and may lose their durability, breaking into pieces or falling off entirely. In about 10-30% of psoriasis cases, the psoriasis begins to affect the joints as well, causing psoriatic arthritis.

The Cause of the Depression

Psoriasis is a treatable condition, but it is frustrating, embarrassing, time-consuming, and never-ending. The depression comes into play when patients realize that there’s no cure, and that they will be battling the disease for the rest of their days. The study shows that even patients with mild cases of psoriasis are at risk for depression. The exact correlation between the disease and the increased risk for depression isn’t clear or provable, but it’s reasonable to assume that patients become weary of struggling against the disease. They may feel ostracised by a society that doesn’t understand their condition, and their social lives and personal relationships may suffer.

The Extent of the Problem

According to Madhulika A. Gupta, a psychiatrist in Singapore, psoriasis isn’t the only skin condition that increases a person’s likelihood of developing mental health issues. “There is an emerging literature on the association of skin diseases and depression,” says Dr. Gupta, referencing studies that show a link between depression and the lowered quality of life that skin condition patients often face.

Available Screening and Treatment

If you suffer from psoriasis or another skin condition, talk to your doctor about the possibility of depression. Visit Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic to speak with a Singapore psychiatrist who can screen you for depression and related disorders. Taking care of your body is important, but caring for your mind is essential, too. Our psychologists can help you learn to cope with the effects of your illness and face the future with hope.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Dermatology Times, November 07, 2016