Depression: Acknowledge Your Feelings

When you visit your dermatologist, it's common for the exam-room conversation to focus on the psoriasis symptoms you can see—where the psoriasis is located on your body, how much area it covers and whether it causes you irritation or pain.

But the challenges associated with psoriasis are more than skin deep. Having this disease also can affect you emotionally and socially. Studies show that having psoriasis can have the same impact on your quality of life as having congestive heart failure or diabetes.

If having psoriasis is an emotional burden for you—take comfort in knowing that you are having a common reaction to the disease. Depression is normal when people are faced with a lifelong condition that affects the way they look.

The path to feeling better

One of the first steps in dealing with emotional challenges caused by psoriasis is to acknowledge your feelings. If you are feeling bad, recognize that. Then make a commitment to yourself to feel better.

Keep in the front of your mind that you are not your disease. Focus on what makes you who you are—your strengths and talents and the aspects of yourself that you're proud of.

Let your doctor help

Another important step in gaining control over your feelings about this disease is to resolve that you and your doctor will keep looking until you find a treatment that works. Be open with your doctor about how psoriasis affects your life and about what you want from therapy. Then stick to the treatment plan you two agree on.

You may be surprised at how much your mood will improve when you do find a treatment that gives you relief. Less discomfort and clearer skin can give your emotions a major lift.

It's okay to talk

And if you think it will help, just talk about what it's like to have psoriasis—with family members, friends, a support group, your dermatologist or a therapist. While you may not want to dwell on your psoriasis every day of the year, it's okay (and even affirming) to acknowledge the complexity that this disease brings to your life.

But above all, don't give up hope! There's help out there—in terms of new medical treatments, dermatologists who understand how you are feeling, and friends and family who want to support you.

Published August 2011

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