Stress as an Influencing Factor in Psoriasis

Misha M. Heller, BA; Eric S. Lee, BS; John Y.M. Koo, MD


Skin Therapy Letter. 2011;16(5) 

In This Article

Stress and Psoriasis: A Vicious Cycle

Psoriasis itself can serve as a stressor for patients. Psoriasis can be a disfiguring skin disease with much attached social stigmata. Accordingly, patients often suffer significant interpersonal and psychological distress. Patients commonly experience difficulties in social interactions, especially in meeting new individuals and forming romantic relationships. In general, most patients demonstrate adverse psychological consequences, including poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and for some, even develop suicidal ideation.[18]

As psoriasis can cause considerable stress for patients and increased levels of stress are likely to exacerbate psoriasis, the disease process, thus, becomes a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle.[19] Therefore, treatment considerations for psoriasis should integrate methods of stress reduction, including psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, especially for known stress responders.


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