PsoriasisNet Spotlight Article
Psoriasis Action Plan: Dealing with Depression
When depression hits, doing
virtually anything is hard. Curling up and shutting out the world
often seems like the best approach. Overcoming depression, however,
Research shows that starting small makes taking action doable. To
help you start small, here are 10 tips from which to choose.
Join a psoriasis support
Why: Sharing your thoughts with others who face similar
challenges can be empowering. Almost two-thirds (65.7%) of the
people who joined an online psoriasis support group said the
online support enabled them to gain a sense of control. After
joining an online psoriasis support group, nearly half (49.5%)
believed that their quality of life improved, and almost as many
(41.0%) said the severity of their psoriasis lessened.
Learn more about psoriasis.
Why: Research shows that becoming informed about a
medical condition with which one is living helps a person to
live well. There are many sources for learning more about
psoriasis, including your dermatologist and this Web site.
Learn about the different
treatment options for psoriasis.
Why: In a survey, more than three-fourths (78%) of people
living with severe psoriasis said that their “treatment does not
work well enough, and it does not make their disease more
manageable.” Almost one-third (32%) of these people said that
their treatment is not aggressive enough. By learning what
treatment options are available, you will be able to discuss
these options with your dermatologist during your next
You will find information about psoriasis therapies at
Tell your dermatologist if
the results from your treatment disappoint you.
Why: In a telephone survey, almost half (49%) of the
people confessed that they are “only somewhat satisfied” or “not
at all satisfied” with their psoriasis treatment. Other studies
have found that when treatment effectively controls psoriasis, a
person’s symptoms of depression lessen. Improvements in both can
be seen as early as 4 weeks.
Take a walk, or get some
other form of physical exercise.
Why: When depression hits or your psoriasis flares,
exercising is probably the last thing you want to do. What we
least feel like doing, however, can be the most helpful. Studies
show that regular exercise can be as effective at lifting
depression as antidepressant medication.
Write it out.
Why: Research shows that the simple act of writing down
your thoughts can help lift depression. The writing does not
have to be polished or even sensible to anyone else. Oftentimes
just writing down your feelings and then shredding the paper
boosts a person’s mood.
Why: Researchers have found an association between higher
alcohol consumption and higher levels of anxiety and depression.
Try not to isolate
Why: Being around other people will make you feel less
depressed. Isolation and feeling lonely worsen depression.
Seek a consultation with a
qualified psychiatrist or psychologist.
Why: If you have depression, anxiety, or anger, chances
are that you feel this way because of something that has
happened in your life. These feelings may come from coping with
psoriasis, and they may not. A skilled psychiatrist or
psychologist can help you unearth what is causing these feelings
and help you confront the problem.
Make a list of activities
that you previously enjoyed. Then pick one that you can do this
Why: While it may seem that nothing can bring you joy,
that is simply not true. Such thoughts stem from the depression.
Making time for what you enjoy plays a key role in overcoming
depression. An activity need not be extravagant; it can be as
simple as listening to your favorite music or reading a book.
Your Action Plan
If you have depression, it can feel impossibly difficult to get
started. The key is to start small. Answering the following can help
you take that first step.
This week, I promise myself that I will
commit to the following to help myself feel better:
Dealing with Depression
National Institute of Mental Health
Psoriasis Increases Risk for Depression Studies Shows
American Academy of Dermatology
Richards HL, Mason DL et al. “Alcohol consumption and
psychological distress in patients with psoriasis.” British
Journal of Dermatology 2008; 158: 138-40.
Idriss SZ, Kvedar JC, Watson AJ. “The role of online support
communities: benefits of expanded social networks to patients with
psoriasis.” Archives of Dermatology 2009; 145: 46-51.
All content solely
developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
How to Connect with
The National Psoriasis Foundation offers the following:
Largest virtual community of people with psoriasis and
Live, real-time interaction and connection
More than 45 affiliated support groups in various U.S.