Self-Esteem and Psoriasis

Coping with the Emotional Effects of Psoriasis

Psoriasis causes problems emotionally and physically, and it affects a person's self-esteem, but it doesn't have to take control. It's normal to feel shock, frustration, confusion, and anger about what's happening.

Some people show little emotion about having psoriasis; others react powerfully. No two emotional responses are the same. Getting past emotional problems is possible, but it may take some time. Therapy, support groups, and treatment are all viable options. People with psoriasis need to understand that it is not a death sentence. It's just an issue to be dealt with.

Emotional support

In surveys about psoriasis, over half of the sufferers say that psoriasis is a big problem in their life. Sometimes, speaking with others who have similar experiences can help. Getting support from doctors, family and friends, is important in dealing with psoriasis. Getting the right medical care, and talking to someone who understands will help patients cope with the emotional strain psoriasis can cause.

Psoriasis can cause a person to be stressed or stop them from doing the things they enjoy. He/she needs to talk to a friend or family member or visit the doctor. Whatever the sufferer is going through, they need to know they are not alone, and that things can get better.

Psoriasis doesn't just affect the body; it affects the sense of self, body image, and relationships with others. There's no cure for the physical symptoms, but there is help.

Overcoming the stigma of psoriasis

According to Vickie Dowling, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in San Diego, CA, building up self-esteem with psoriasis takes six steps:

  1. Education. Find out as much as possible about psoriasis: what it is, what the treatments are, and how to avoid flare-ups. Once the patient becomes more knowledgeable and comfortable inside, they can talk to others about the disease.
  2. Educate others. Talk to family and friends - people one feels safest and most comfortable with. Then reach out and share the information with classmates, co-workers, or anyone else.
  3. Lean on loved ones. A strong support network is crucial. It's important to be surrounded by people who can be trusted and can create a safe network. Knowledge and compassion help build confidence.
  4. Get involved. Psoriasis can be very isolating, so try to be more social. Work at not being alone. One way to do that is to make connections in organizations like the National Psoriasis Foundation, which has mentoring programs and support networks.
  5. Find the funny. There's a lot of fear attached to psoriasis, so humor can help placate that fear. Psoriasis itself isn't a joke, but being able to joke about it eases the stress in awkward situations.
  6. Take it easy. There's no quick fix - for the condition or for the effect it has on a person's life and sense of self. Remember, there are ups and downs for everyone.