Psoriasis is more sensitive to stress than any other skin disease. The interesting part is that the disease itself may cause a 'reactive depression' in patients which could further exacerbate the whole disease process, and in some cases even lengthen the time of disease clearance.
Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin condition that causes rapid skin cell reproduction resulting in red and dry patches of thickened skin. It commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp.
AdvertisementSeveral scientific studies have confirmed that stress can trigger and worsen psoriasis and increase itching. Additional, well-controlled studies are necessary to confirm such a causal relationship, though a pathogenic association appears likely.
Psychological and physical stress can stimulate the release of chemical messengers (neuropeptides), which can cause itching, pain, and inflammation. One possible underlying cause of stress-induced flares of psoriasis can be dysregulation of the hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal and sympathetic adrenomedullary systems.
Psoriasis can induce stress in a number of ways, such as the stigma associated with the disease, embarrassment of the skin blemishes, the financial strains of lifelong treatment, and many more.
Since the 'stress-prosiaris-stress' cycle has been established, breaking this 'merry-go-round" is important to attain better therapeutic outcomes. Stress management is an essential part of psoriasis management. Stress reduction through psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy may be useful in treating stress respondent psoriatic patients.