World Psoriasis Day is October 29th. Each year, the global psoriatic disease community unites for action to raise awareness of psoriatic disease. This year’s theme is mental health.
1 in 10 people with psoriatic disease is diagnosed with clinical depression. As many as 48% experience anxiety. The psychological impact is increasingly recognized as a significant part of life with this illness.
Indeed, there are many logical reasons why psoriatic disease triggers depression and anxiety. People who experience this chronic, visible illness frequently battle stigma and shame. The symptoms can be considered unsightly, and many mistakenly assume that the disease is contagious. Pain and discomfort are another daily battle for people with itching skin or joint inflammation. Added health expenses combined with decreased earnings due to disability and discrimination further contribute to financial stress. Unpredictable flares hold individuals on constant alert. For all these reasons and more, 81% report that psoriatic disease takes a toll on relationships, intimacy, and ultimately, happiness.
Yet external factors are not the only cause of depression and anxiety with psoriatic disease. In fact, the same inflammation that causes psoriatic disease can also generate endogenous depression and anxiety. It is for this reason that people living with psoriatic disease often report feelings of being caught in a vicious cycle. Psoriatic disease causes depression and anxiety. Anxiety and depression, in turn, worsen psoriatic disease.
For World Psoriasis Day 2022, IFPA, the global organization fighting psoriatic disease, is uniting for action to improve mental health for everybody living with the condition.
Frida Dunger Johnsson, Executive Director of IFPA, explains, “When dermatologists and rheumatologists become aware that their patient’s suffering goes deeper than the physical symptoms, they should be empowered to provide assistance. In some cases, that may mean updating the course of treatment. We know that appropriate treatment reduces inflammation and improves the psychological impact as well as the physical one.”
Join IFPA to share messages about mental health and psoriatic disease. Visit psoriasisday.org to get involved.
 Dowlatshahi, E. A., Wakkee, M., Arends, L. R. & Nijsten, T. The prevalence and odds of depressive symptoms and clinical depression in psoriasis patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 134, 1542–1551 (2014).
 Fleming, P. et al. The prevalence of anxiety in patients with psoriasis: a systematic review of observational studies and clinical trials. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology vol. 31 798–807 (2017).
 IFPA | Psoriasis and Beyond: The global psoriatic disease study. https://ifpa-pso.com/projects/psoriasis-and-beyond.
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