- 25-year-old Claire Spurgin shares revealing photos with her psoriasis to normalize the look.
- Many psoriasis patients often feel insecure about the appearance of their skin.
- One of the best ways to cope and understand that you’re not alone is having a doctor who is well-versed in the psychological effects of psoriasis.
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She’s been fierce and filterless filling people in on her daily struggles with psoriasis. She says in a post: “I’ve accidentally scratched my back and have a plaster on my wrist from where it wouldn’t stop bleeding,” to which she adds, “it’s essential to moisturize your body everyday!”
Living with Psoriasis
If you have psoriasis (a chronic skin condition), you may feel shame or an emotional burden surrounding your flaky skin patches.
It’s important to remember that it’s completely normal to feel nervous or aware of your skin condition, Dr. Saakshi Khattri, a certified rheumatologist dermatologist and internist practicing at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, tells SurvivorNet.
However, you may also be wondering how you can manage those feelings surrounding your psoriasis.
One piece of advice Dr. Khattri offers to manage this stress is advocating for yourself.
“If you have psoriasis on your skin, and if it’s affecting your quality of life, it’s important to advocate for yourself and not be dismissed by a health care practitioner,” she said. “And if you feel … this wherever you have psoriasis is really affecting you, just ask for options to treat your psoriasis.”
In addition, it’s important to work with a doctor who understands that “anxiety and depression are real comorbidities of psoriatic disease.” Jaime Lyn Moy, a patient advocate with both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (a type of arthritis linked with psoriasis), tells Healio Rheumatology in an interview.
A June 2020 study published in Arthritis Care & Research re-enforced her point. The research analyzed 56 previously published data sets involving patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and while the study concluded that the relationship between comorbid depression and systemic inflammation and disease manifestations in psoriatic disease patients is “still being deciphered,” doctors should be aware of these comorbidities, “as this knowledge will effectively enhance remission rates and the quality of life in patients.”
“We know that the burden of disease in psoriasis is quite high and is further compounded by the development of psoriatic arthritis,” Dr. Joseph Merola, director of the Center for Skin and Related Musculoskeletal Diseases (SARM) at Harvard Medical School, says in an interview with Healio. “Anxiety and depression are now well-documented and highly prevalent comorbidities of psoriatic disease.”
So, one of the best ways to cope and understand that you’re not alone is having a doctor who is well-versed in depression and anxiety as it relates to psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that presents with red scaly plaques on the skin.
This condition tends to have a genetic predisposition. However, “really anybody can get it, but the peak sort of seems to be between the ages of 30 and 50, but again, it can happen to anybody,” Dr. Khattri says.
Dr. Khattri explains that when a person has psoriasis, basically what’s happening is that the body’s own immune system “in some ways is going on this overdrive and causing changes on the skin that are seen clinically. And that’s how a diagnosis of psoriasis is made.”
There are many types of this skin condition, Dr. Khattri notes.
“I sort of joke … that not all psoriasis is equal,” she says.
But, the “most ubiquitous” presentation of psoriasis is what is known as psoriasis vulgaris. This form of the condition presents with those red scaly plaques mentioned earlier in this article.
“If you have psoriasis, it’s also important to understand that we have a lot of options to treat your psoriasis,” she says. “If one doesn’t work, we can move to a second. We can move to a third … We have an excellent systemic model that can, if successful, result in all clearance of your psoriasis.”