What You Should Know About Eczema & Mental Health

What You Should Know About Eczema & Mental Health

“Please understand that taking [said medicine] may come with severe side effects such as skin cancer or even infertility. Due to this, we always ask our patients to sign a steroid medical consent form. In addition, you will need to follow the strict directions on the print out we’ve provided for you,” stated by my Manhattan Dermatologist.

Yes, this really happened and to be perfectly honest I didn’t even care at the time. I just remember being extremely desperate as my skin was to the point of no return. Or so I thought. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I’d be told something serious or signed a form in regards to my eczema. There were numerous trials for drugs that weren’t on the market yet, a scam dermatologist who took a sample of my skin to test me for….SKIN CANCER (a costly procedure that my insurance didn’t want to cover fully), an allergy test with 100 patches, wrapping myself up like a mummy and so much more. Lets just put it this way, I’ve been through a lot with this condition and after blogging for a few years I realize I’m not the only one.

Anyone that has a chronic condition understands this life all too well. It’s very difficult to navigate your skin. One of the worst things about having eczema itself isn’t the condition, but the lack of control. With eczema, every day is like a playing game of clue that you never signed up for. You just have to live cautiously as you try and figure out what caused your flare up. It’s a vicious cycle.

I’m always hesitant to talk about mental health. Especially due to the recent tragedies, but yesterday I read an article that was jarring! A 23-year-old nursing student from Hong Kong brutally attacked and stabbed her parents to death and then committed suicide. She left messages on a forum which included;

People with eczema giving birth to kids are worse than poor people giving birth to kids, the post reads. If you’re poor, you can rely on your own hard work. With eczema, sorry, you have to suffer (your whole life) with no change.

…There’s nothing you can do except to wait and die,” and that her “social life (was) all gone.

 

The consensus is that she was suffering from the side effects due to her prescribed steroids medication. Either way, there was clearly a lot more going on then we will ever know. Sadly, this was one of the darkest stories I’ve read surrounding to eczema. It reminds me of another story about a 23-year-old who committed suicide in which the claim might have been due to his steroid usage. Which is why I wanted to touch on mental health.

*Here’s What You Should Know About Eczema And Mental Health
(Can be applied to most chronic skin conditions, as well)

  • There is a social stigma that comes with having a skin condition – due to the visibility
  • Eczema affects relationships
  • May develop an obsessive compulsive disorder such as skin-picking disorder
  • Those with skin problems have a greater risk of developing psychological problems
  • Skin disorders have a tendency to cause psychological distress
  • Skin conditions are menacing
  • If you have a chronicle skin disorder – you’re likely to suffer a bout of major depression
  • According to statistics, suicidal thoughts are increased in those that have chronic skin conditions – compared to the general population
  • Social withdrawal is a very common side effect – may be due to lack of confidence and frustration etc.
  • Severe skin problems can lead to a disturbance in activities – causing you to quit altogether
  • Kids with skin conditions are likely to suffer psychosocial impairment
  • Sometimes those with mild symptoms may suffer worse than those severe symptoms – it boils down to your perception
  • There is such thing as skin PTSD, even if your skin clears up

This was taken from two different studies (sources can be found below). Please know that the reason for posting this is to alert those that may or are going through this. I would never give advice on such a serious subject, but I can post links which go into depth if you or someone you know suffers from depression or suicidal thoughts.

Therapistshttps://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
https://locator.apa.org/
Suicide Preventionhttps://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention.htm
https://afsp.org/
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Eczema and Mental Health Sourceshttps://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/skin-deep/201001/the-emotional-impact-skin-problems
https://www.psychiatry.org/news-room/apa-blogs/apa-blog/2017/07/mental-health-and-skin-connection
Featured Article Sources: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/20/asia/hong-kong-eczema-double-murder-suicide-intl/index.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twCNN&utm_term=image&utm_content=2018-06-20T08%3A38%3A00
https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/man-23-took-life-after-586996

4 thoughts on “What You Should Know About Eczema & Mental Health

  1. Hi I came across your blog today while searching up eczema-related topics. Needless to say, I’m in awe of your openness and willingness to share.

    This is a tough one for me. It’s the first time I’ve heard of PTSD related to eczema. I’m currently going through a horrible flare up. I’ve got eczema all over my entire body. I can’t sleep at night. Just last night I woke up 4 times. I hope to be able to go for phototherapy soon, as I hope it’ll help with my condition.

    I’m really at my wits’ end, I’ve had this flare up for a little over 2 years. I also have to add that I find my thought are more negative since my flare up. I have a tendency to be more irritable and impatient on days when my eczema is really bad. I have no one to talk to about my problem. My family members don’t understand what I’m going through( they don’t have eczema). I’m kind of down, I wish my skin would go back to normal, I miss the times when it was okay.

    1. Hi Gideon,

      Thanks so much for reaching out, I really appreciate it. I’m sorry you’re going through a horrible flare-up, that’s the worst. What are you doing to treat it, before your phototherapy session? Have you ever tried moisturizer withdrawal? I found that it helps me when I’m going through a severe breakout.

      Yes, anytime you’re in pain and uncomfortable it will affect your mood. I know exactly how you feel, at times you just want to be by yourself.

      There are tons of people and lots of communities involving eczema that you can join if you want me to send you some I’d be more than happy too. Also, you can always reach out. I agree about family not understanding, but at the same time, I don’t expect them to. Only those with eczema or caring for someone with eczema truly know what it’s like to battle this awful condition.

      My fear is that eczema is becoming even more common and getting worse – particularly for young infants/toddlers and senior citizens.

      Please keep me updated on your phototherapy sessions, I’d love to see if they are effective.

  2. Just discovered your blog today, and so glad I did! I have been living with eczema for about 23 years now, and for the past 10 years have been dealing with depression and anxiety as well. I definitely see all the conditions as linked together.

    1. Hi Danae,

      Thanks so much, I really appreciate you as a reader.

      Ugh, yes anxiety/depression and eczema go hand in hand. I’ve definitely battled it myself. Make sure you take care of yourself and make friends within the eczema community, the people are AMAZING I swear.

      If you ever want to talk, please feel free to reach out 🙂

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