Anxious? Welcome to the Urticaria Club!

Kate

Dr. Katie Beleznay is a Clinical Instructor with the University of British Columbia Department of Dermatology. She focuses her research in the areas of acne, rosacea, psoriasis and photo protection. You can follow Dr. Beleznay on Twitter here or on LinkedIn here.

When you think of clubs, perhaps you think of people who are brought together based on similar interests and goals: book clubs, professional societies, nightclubs (cue the music!). 

However, if you are living with urticaria, you may be a part of a club that you’d prefer to avoid. Not to mention, this “Urticaria Club” membership likely offers amenities you’re not interested in, including potential feelings of isolation and some degree of anxiety.1  

 

(Definitely not what the urticaria club looks like) 

The fear of not knowing

As a member of the urticaria club, you may sometimes struggle to understand what causes your breakout. And when you do have a breakout, you don’t know how long it will last or how severe the symptoms may be. The causes of urticaria are often unidentifiable,2 and this can be anxiety-provoking for some. In fact, it may give you anxiety just thinking about it!

The viscous urticaria cycle  

The unfortunate irony is that stress may be an enhancer of your urticaria.3 For some, it’s far too easy to end up in a vicious cycle of feeling stressed about your condition and then having anxiety stem from the stress, fueling breakouts.

In its simplest form: Stress may lead to anxiety, anxiety may foster breakouts, and breakouts may lead to more stress.  ‘Round and around it goes…

Dust off that typewriter (or maybe your journal or computer)

I often suggest the idea of keeping a journal to those living with urticaria (which is also mentioned here). In addition to keeping track of your feelings and how you’re handling your day-to-day routine, you can also note when your condition strikes, what may have precipitated the symptoms, and how you are dealing with it. For some, this is a great way to handle the anxiety associated with a chronic skin condition. For others, it’s also a great tool to help you better advocate for yourself with your healthcare provider. The more information you have, the easier it is for your doctor to help you.

And yes, there is an app for that.

You are not the only member of the urticaria club

I hear it time and time again: people deal with the anxiety associated with urticaria by talking to others who are living with the same condition. This type of communal therapy can sometimes be extremely beneficial. Finding others who can empathize and more importantly, understand what you’re going through, can almost feel like you’re a member of that “Urticaria Club” I mentioned before. But this time, it’s in a good way.

Whether through an online community or face-to-face, connecting with others can be reassuring while also possibly helping to reduce anxiety. If you aren’t sure who to turn to, the Skin to live in Facebook page is a great place to start, as is UrticariaDay.org

So, if you are part of the “Urticaria Club” unwillingly, now may be the time to join an official Urticaria Club so you can benefit from having a support system.  

 

  1. National Psoriasis Foundation. About Psoriasis. January 2016. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis

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