Break This Common Cycle in 6 Steps

As important as it is to learn everything you can about psoriasis, understanding the emotional impact of the disease is just as critical. Psoriasis patients often go through the same stages of grief and mourning as people who have lost loved ones—in fact, a psoriasis diagnosis can feel like the loss of your old life. The stages you may experience include:

  • Denial. You refuse to admit you have psoriasis, you won't talk about it and you even refuse to think about it.
  • Anger. You get angry at fate, God and the universe for doing this to you. You may also resent that other people can do things you no longer can.
  • Negotiation. In your thoughts, prayers and conversations with your doctor, you express that you'll do anything, if only you can be free of this difficult disease.
  • Depression. You feel like giving up. The struggle seems hopeless and not worth the effort.
  • Acceptance. You accept that you have a disease, follow your treatment and work hard to live the life you want.
Breaking the cycle

Psoriasis affects so many areas of daily living that it can be easy to let it define you. Remember that you are not your disease. Focus on what makes you who you are—your strengths, talents and attributes of which you're proud. Psoriasis is often a lifelong condition, but it doesn't need to run your life. When you start to feel stressed, remind yourself that stress can actually make your flares worse. Follow the six steps below to help you end this emotional cycle:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. Admit to yourself how bad you really feel.
  2. Learn about psoriasis. Find out all you can. The unknown is far more frightening than the known.
  3. Keep searching. Try not to be discouraged if some therapies don't work. Remember, each new treatment you try is part of a process, not a dead end.
  4. Stick with it. Many psoriasis therapies need several weeks or more to show improvement.
  5. Talk with someone. Find a person to whom you can open up.
  6. Get professional help if needed. Seeing a therapist is no different than visiting your healthcare provider when you need help for physical symptoms.
Live life fully

When you have psoriasis, having the life you want again can be challenging. But it's definitely worth the effort. Find a doctor you can work with, a treatment that's effective and a strong support system. Then you'll be well on your way to a new start.

Published August 2011

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