If you're vulnerable to stress, your psoriasis is too

| Melissa Leavitt

Does your psoriasis get worse with stress? According to the results of a recent study, that might mean you’re more prone to anxiety and depression, and more likely to get stressed out during everyday life.

Stress is a well-known trigger for psoriasis. Prior research has found that between 37 and 71 percent of patients with psoriasis report that their disease gets worse with stress, or first came on during a stressful time, as noted in the study.

A group of researchers in Sweden studied the psychological and emotional characteristics of people whose psoriasis is triggered by stress. According to their findings, these patients had higher rates of depression and anxiety, and had certain personality characteristics that made them particularly susceptible to stress, compared to people whose psoriasis was not affected by stress.

Results from the study were published in May in the journal BMC Dermatology.

Researchers analyzed 101 patients with psoriasis, most of whom had mild disease. The gender breakdown of study participants was relatively equal, with slightly more men than women.

Every patient was interviewed about how they handled things like social situations, work, financial issues and relationships. They were also asked whether psoriasis affected their daily life and relationships, and whether they felt their psoriasis was impacted by stress.

Patients also filled out questionnaires asking about anxiety, depression and various personality traits.

According to the results, 63 percent of patients said that their psoriasis got worse when they experienced stress, and almost 50 percent said that their psoriasis first appeared during a stressful time. These patients had higher rates of anxiety and depression than people whose psoriasis was not connected to stress, researchers reported.

Patients whose psoriasis was triggered by stress were also more likely to have certain personality traits that could lead them to get stressed out more easily, researchers reported. For example, these patients were more likely to say that they felt pressure in work situations, often felt rushed and tired or felt insecure when they were asked to take on a new project.

Asking patients whether their psoriasis is related to stress may help doctors identify people who need additional psychological support or counseling, the researchers concluded.

Research into the stress-psoriasis connection suggests that addressing these psychological issues may not only help patients avoid getting bogged down in anxiety and depression, but also help prevent stress-related flares in the future.

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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