Parents of Children with Eczema More Likely to Suffer Depression, Anxiety

by Adeline Dorcas on  October 11, 2019 at 1:42 PM Mental Health News
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Eczema in young children can put parents and caregivers at a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety, reports a new study.
Parents of Children with Eczema More Likely to Suffer Depression, Anxiety
Parents of Children with Eczema More Likely to Suffer Depression, Anxiety

Family members and caregivers of children with Atopic Dermatitis (AD), the most common form of eczema, have been found to suffer mild severity anxiety and depression, new research presented at the 28th EADV Congress has found.

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A team of researchers from the PHI University Clinic of Dermatology assessed the impact of an atopic dermatitis diagnosis on the families of 35 children aged 1-6. In total, the researchers evaluated 83 family members and caregivers and found that all respondents reported at least mild severity anxiety* with some showing moderate severity anxiety. Almost three in four (74%) participants were also found to present with depression.

The study found that depression and anxiety scores were associated with the persistence and longevity of atopic dermatitis. Researchers did not find an association between scores and the severity of the disease, meaning that depression or anxiety was not observed to increase where atopic dermatitis was more severe.

Atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, affects between 10-20% of the pediatric population of Europe and causes the skin to become itchy, red dry and cracked. It is a chronic condition that most often occurs in people who have allergies and can develop alongside asthma and hay fever. As well as the symptoms of AD, patients with the condition are also known to suffer insomnia, anxiety and psychosocial stress, linked to the physical manifestation of their eczema.

The study utilized the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and Hamilton Anxiety Rating scale (HAM-A), one of the first and most widely used ratings systems for identifying the two conditions in both a clinical and research setting. To supplement the ratings questionnaires, the team also asked participants what their greatest concerns were. The most frequent worry reported was the information families and caregivers receive about the nature of the disease itself, since AD is a long-term condition which requires complex and costly medical treatments.

Commenting on the research, lead researcher Dr Vesna Grivcheva-Panovska said, "The chronicity and complexity of chronic dermatitis often leads to overlooked anxiety and depression in family members and caregivers, but our results show the extent of this cannot be overstated. In the future, we must take a wholesome view of the situation and a widened approach to the management of Atopic Dermatitis not only of the patients but of their families as well."

Source: Eurekalert

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