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Psoriasis is more than a skin condition. Did you know that people diagnosed with psoriasis are twice as likely to be depressed as those who don't have it? Even if your psoriasis symptoms are mild, you still have a higher risk than those without psoriasis of developing the condition. Mental health also factors in stress, which can cause psoriasis flare ups in some people.
Looking after your mental health, as well as your physical health, is incredibly important. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a mental health condition, psoriasis can have a great impact on your mood and how you feel about yourself.
Below are my top tips for dealing with mental health especially when you have psoriasis.
1. Speak to your doctor
Depression and anxiety are very common for people with psoriasis. Speaking to your doctor or dermatologist about how your psoriasis affects your mental health is so important and will allow you to seek the help you need for your mental health through medication or therapy.
It is important to talk to your doctor about what is best for you. When I was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I went to therapy instead of taking medication. I thought that initially therapy would be best for me to try and my doctor agreed.
Once I had decided to go on to anti-depressants, I was very open about this with my doctor and dermatologist as this had implications on which medication I could take for my psoriasis. It is important to be open and ensure that your doctor has the full picture of what is going on in order to be able to help you fully.
2. Be open about your condition – especially at work
You might want to keep your psoriasis a secret from your co-workers, but telling your boss can allow them to understand the need for time away from work to attend vital hospital or doctor appointments and allow you not to feel stressed or anxious about asking.
Deciding if and when or even how to discuss your psoriasis with your employer isn’t an easy decision. You and only you can make this decision. If you do decide to tell your boss, make sure that you educate them on psoriasis and what having the condition involves. Not all bosses will understand that it is more than just a skin condition. It is an immune mediated condition that can effect many aspects of your body and stress from work can worsen psoriasis. If your boss has a better understanding it can help with not having to stress over hiding your condition from everyone.
3. Stay positive
If you are having a particularly bad flare up day, then try and think positive thoughts. Don’t push yourself too much, pace yourself throughout the day, and try to think about something other than your psoriasis (the toughest tip here, I know).
Whenever a negative thought pops into your head or you say something negative to yourself try and follow it up with something positive. How you talk to yourself can be such an important factor in how you will feel. My fellow blogger Linzi has written a blog post all about self talk and the role this can play.
4. Have a holistic plan
I have written about having a holistic plan before, you can read the full article about how to create one here.
A holistic plan is something I would really consider for anyone with psoriasis to go alongside their medical plan and can form part of your discussions with your doctor. Having a holistic plan has helped me so many times. Meditation, healthy eating, regular exercise plus taking a day a week to focus on self care has allowed me to take a second, relax and ensure that I am looking after myself in every way possible.
Hopefully these tips will help you have a better understanding of mental health and psoriasis, and how you can look after your own mental health whilst dealing with psoriasis.
UK/IE MAT-27654 Date of preparation: August 2019
Article developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.