Eczema and Emotional Wellbeing
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that can cause unpredictable flares, intense itching, swelling, cracking, or crusting on patches of skin. Eczema can affect many different aspects of a person’s lifestyle, such as work productivity and social activities, and put stress on relationships—all of which can affect emotional wellbeing.
A recent survey by the National Eczema Association revealed that more than 30% of people with atopic dermatitis, a condition that makes your skin red and itchy, were diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety. One explanation for why people with inflammatory skin diseases like eczema are more susceptible to mental health issues, is because of the way their bodies communicate with their brains during an inflammatory response.
When a person experiences a stressful situation, the body goes into fight-or-flight mode and responds by increasing production of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. But when the body produces too much cortisol, it can suppress the immune system and cause an inflammatory response in the skin. People living with skin diseases like eczema are particularly susceptible to this inflammatory response.
Although ridding your life of stress won’t eliminate eczema altogether, it will help alleviate some of the common symptoms of this disease. It’s good to be aware that atopic dermatitis and depression may be connected. Talk to your primary care physician or a mental health specialist if you are experiencing symptoms of depression. To find a PIH Health doctor, visit PIHHealth.org/Find-a-Doctor.