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So, You Have Psoriasis, Now What?

From staying active to becoming BFFs with your doctor, we’re exploring how to tackle the “what now?” feelings that come after a psoriasis diagnosis.

Having psoriasis is like being a celebrity…sort of. Maybe it doesn’t bring the fame and fortune, but it can sometimes warrant stares on the street. Red, scaly skin can draw double-takes from even the politest of people, and this coupled with the incessant scratching or restless sleeping…well, this can be a lot to process.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Whether you are a newcomer to living with psoriasis OR a seasoned veteran, here are just a few ways that you can help manage psoriasis in the best way.

Become an expert

First things first: the more you know about your psoriasis, the better. Skin to live in is a great place to read new articles, gather input from experts and learn perspectives from others living with psoriasis. We also have resources that could help you understand more about your condition. You can connect with others through our Facebook community, or speak directly with our Facebook Messenger bot, Nova.

Spread the word

Other people’s negative reactions to psoriasis usually show that they do not know much about psoriasis. Next time someone asks a question or says something thoughtless, use it as an opportunity to educate them. Explain that psoriasis is not contagious (duh) and has nothing to do with poor hygiene (eye roll) – it’s actually an autoimmune disorder. Merritt, one of our Skin to live in contributors, shares that having a positive disposition helps when explaining her psoriasis to others. Perhaps you can say something like, “I know you think that it’s only on the surface, but believe it or not, it’s a lot more than that. Let me explain…” That’s a good way to silence a disbeliever. 

Don’t dismiss the blues

It’s no surprise that having a challenging skin disease increases your risk of depression1(people with psoriasis are twice as likely to become depressed than those without the condition).2 But it’s not just the state of your skin that can hurt; evidence suggests that the same processes that trigger inflammation in psoriasis can also potentially cause changes in the brain that affect your mood.3,4 Keep an eye out for those flags – struggling to sleep, feeling like you can’t face the day, a lack of energy, withdrawing socially – and see your doctor at the first sign.

Stay Active

Some may simply give up and/or become complacent when they are living with psoriasis. If you are at that point, don’t wave the white flag. There are ways to keep the process going. First, consider speaking to a professional - like your dermatologist - about how you are feeling. He or she will be able to help you explore the impact the condition has on your life and look at practical ways to address these issues. Second, (if they haven’t recommended this already) take the DLQI test. The DLQI test is a 10-question questionnaire that delves into everything from how your skin condition affects your ability to get up and get dressed in the morning, to how it impacts your career, emotional wellbeing, and social life.

Become BFFs with your doc

It’s natural to become despondent if you feel like your skin is spiralling out of control. This probably explains why one study found 39% of patients with severe psoriasis were not even receiving treatment.5 If you aren’t happy with your psoriasis, don’t give up. Be persistent! Talk to your doctor about your options until you find one that hits the spot.  

1. Risk of depression in women with psoriasis: a cohort study. Dommasch ED, Li T, Okereke OI, et al. Br J Dermatol. 2015 Oct;173(4):975–80. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjd.14032/abstract 

2. Depression. National Psoriasis Foundation https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/depression

3. Psoriasis, Depression, and Suicidality. Mathew N. Nicholas, Melinda Gooderham. Skin Therapy Letter. 2017;22(3) http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/879829

4. The link between psoriatic disease and mental illness. Melissa Leavitt. National Psoriasis Foundation, https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/link-between-psoriatic-disease-and-mental-illness 

5. Are patients with psoriasis undertreated? Results of National Psoriasis Foundation. Elizabeth J. Horn. Kathleen M. Fox. Vaishali Patel. Chiun-Fang Chiou. Frank Dann. Mark Lebwohl.Journal of the American Academy of DermatologyVolume 57, Issue 6, December 2007, Pages 957-962

 

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