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, requires action.

Research shows that starting small makes taking action doable. To help you start small, here are 10 tips from which to choose.

  1. Join a psoriasis support group.

    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.
     

  2. 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.
     

  3. 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 appointment.

    You will find information about psoriasis therapies at Treatment.
     

  4. 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.
     

  5. 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.
     

  6. 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.
     

  7. Limit alcohol.

    Why: Researchers have found an association between higher alcohol consumption and higher levels of anxiety and depression.
     

  8. Try not to isolate yourself.

    Why: Being around other people will make you feel less depressed. Isolation and feeling lonely worsen depression.
     

  9. 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.
     

  10. Make a list of activities that you previously enjoyed. Then pick one that you can do this week.

    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:

 

 

 

More Information
Dealing with Depression
Help Guide.org

Depression
National Institute of Mental Health

Psoriasis Increases Risk for Depression Studies Shows
American Academy of Dermatology

References:
Kirby B, 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 Others
The National Psoriasis Foundation offers the following:

Message board
Largest virtual community of people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis

Online chat
Live, real-time interaction and connection

Support groups
More than 45 affiliated support groups in various U.S. locales
 
 

 

 

 

     © American Academy of Dermatology, 2011  All rights reserved.
 

Page last updated 12/11/09

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