Struggling with Psoriasis? 4 Areas of Life You Can Manage for Better Wellbeing
Depending on its severity, psoriasis could play a big role in determining your quality of life1. It’s hard to predict when you’re going to have a flare-up, so you may feel a lack of control over how your day is going to go. On days when patches appear all over your body, you may feel embarrassed about your appearance and wonder how people are going to perceive you.
Some of your struggles could simply stem from the obvious physical discomfort of living with psoriasis symptoms. Dry skin can be irksome and, in some cases, downright painful. But there are less obvious struggles for many psoriasis patients. Results from the Clear about Psoriasis global survey showed that 84% of patients face discrimination, 54% feel negative impacts at work, and 43% suffer in their personal relationships2.
In addition, the National Psoriasis 2 Foundation found that psoriasis patients are twice as likely to suffer from depression than the rest of the population3.
No matter where you’re from or what type of psoriasis you have, it is likely that you will share similar complaints with others who are suffering from psoriasis. For instance, you may find it difficult to wear the clothes you want or fight the temptation to scratch your skin. Still, there is a good likelihood that your quality of life will improve with the right treatment plan. Always speak to your dermatologist first as the prelude to improving your general wellbeing.
Read on for some useful tips, gleaned from various sources in the psoriasis community, to deal with these areas of your life:
Change How You Live with Psoriasis: Improve Your Quality of Life
If your flare-ups are triggered at the workplace, you may worry about more than just your appearance. You may need time off for medical appointments and wonder whether it is appropriate to tell your boss and colleagues about your condition. You may be afraid of being stigmatised, worry about workplace gossip, or how it may affect your career.
The workplace can be a stressful environment and it is useful to learn how to manage it. According to the official website of the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), stress plays a role in triggering or exacerbating psoriasis symptoms4. To regain control of the situation, consider breathing exercises, muscle relaxation techniques, or conjuring positive mental thoughts with guided imagery5. For more tips, read 4 Psoriasis Triggers You Need to Manage to Prevent Flare-ups.
2. Social Life
When you receive invitations to parties or vacations, does your psoriasis stop you from going? Your hesitation is understandable. 88% of respondents to the Clear about Psoriasis survey felt self-conscious or embarrassed when doing activities6. Up to 40% simply cannot stand the 6 thought of others seeing their flaky skin7.
You’re in a real dilemma. If you go, you risk exposing your skin condition to a lot of people in public. You may feel ashamed and fear that others may think you have poor hygiene or a contagious disease. If you decline the invitation, however, you may not be invited to anything else in the future and that may lead to social exclusion.
However, don’t let your anxieties hold you back from doing the things you enjoy. Know that you can avoid public scrutiny and still feel comfortable outdoors by dressing to your advantage. Reach out to trusted friends and discuss activities you’re comfortable with so you can be part of the planning process. Seek the right treatment plan and get your dermatologist’s advice on how to stay on track if you go on extended holidays. Understand your symptoms so you can avoid doing things that trigger your psoriasis. With new treatment options available, clear skin is now possible.
3. Dating and Relationships
Imagine being single. You’re not sure if you can find someone who will accept you and your psoriasis. On the first date, you may stress out about what to wear to disguise your condition. You may go on several more dates but still avoid talking about the elephant in the room. However, as the relationship progresses, you realise that you’ll have to talk about it at some point because your patches will show eventually.
The Clear about Psoriasis survey found that 43% of people with psoriasis find it tough to get into a relationship8. You will need a lot of empathy and compassion from your romantic partner so that you will feel comfortable discussing it.
A National Psoriasis Foundation blogger suggests that when you go dating, you should accept yourself, your skin condition, and not allow psoriasis to define you as a person. The right person should be considerate and encouraging of your situation9. According to experts, open communication is one of the keys in establishing a trusting and supportive relationship. With that in place, it is easier to pre-empt your romantic partners about issues that may arise during intimacy10.
Next time you go on a date, here are 6 tips that you need to manage scalp psoriasis on special occasions.
4. Rest and Relax
According to some studies, there appears to be a link between psoriasis and sleep-related problems, as well as a higher incidence of insomnia11,12. This has been mainly attributed to a vicious cycle of poor sleep: It creates fatigue, which may lead to more pain and itching, thus causing even more sleeplessness13.
Suppose you experience a severe flare-up. Between the itching, flaking, dryness, and redness, you may give in to a fitful night of scratching. You may even wake up to bloodstained spots on your sheets or find dried blood under your fingernails. By the time you realise that you’ve injured your skin and created more lesions, it may already be too late.
Itching affects 70-90% of people with psoriasis14. To minimise itching in the first place, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests moisturising right after a shower to keep your dry skin at bay15. If you rarely exercise, start now to improve your health and sleep quality16.
Try to wind down in the evening with a relaxing bath or meditation before you go to bed17. Clear your mind by minimising distractions and turning off your devices. Make sure your sleeping environment is dark and quiet, and air temperature is just right for you to get the restful, deep sleep18.
Find a dermatologist who really gets you.
Some topical treatments can be uncomfortable and may not give you the results you want. The best thing to do is to discuss treatment goals and alternative options with your dermatologist. It’s important to know how missed doses, skipped sessions, or ineffective treatments may affect the overall efficacy of your psoriasis treatment.
Do not give up. Let your dermatologist know if you’re having trouble using your medication; use your medication properly and exactly as recommended.
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If you like this, see also: Scalp Psoriasis: 6 Tips That Will Help You Look Sharp
3 “Depression” – National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/depression