Potential Psychological Effects of Dermatologic Diseases

Since the late 1940s, many studies have shown that the negative effects of dermatologic diseases such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, and chronic urticaria can have negative impacts on the psychological well-being of both men and women. Every aspect of daily lives including work functioning, social functioning, home life, and intrapsychic functioning can be disrupted because of the anxiety, depression, feelings of stigmatization, confusion, social withdrawal, and difficulties at work and that are common in patients with these diseases. Unfortunately, these impacts are often difficult for clinicians and even patients to identify.

“One of the most important things that we can express today is that the psychological and functional impact of skin disease is often not ‘worn right on their sleeves’ of the sufferer,” said Richard Fried, MD, PhD, of Yardley Dermatology Associates in Yardley, PA. “The patient often is not very forthcoming and often not even aware of how much their psychosocial function has been impacted.”

Thus, clinicians should be vigilant and empathic with their patients, both men and women, in order to assess their psychological status and well-being living with dermatologic disease.

“The take-home here is never assume that objective clinical severity necessarily correlates with psychosocial and intrapsychic impact. Furthermore, never presume that by the ‘first round of questioning,’ you’re getting the honest answer,” stated Dr. Fried.

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