Psoriasis of any type or severity can be difficult to live with. While some people find it easier to manage these difficulties, many experience psychological difficulties or conditions, and it is understandable if you do.
You may also feel worried or anxious at times. One reason why this happens is you may worry that people will judge you based on the appearance of your skin which can lead to avoiding social occasions, or other aspects of daily life. Know that you’re not alone, because up to one third of people with psoriasis worry, feel anxious and stressed because of their psoriasis, particularly if they experience intense itch.
Stress and worry may reduce the speed by which you respond to treatment; it may also trigger flare-ups or worsen your psoriasis. If you’re feeling unwell due to your psoriasis, it is important to address these problems and seek help.
Check below to review the different kinds of support that could help you to manage common mental health difficulties, such as stress, anxiety or depression, and refer to the support services and advice section for how to access support.
Click the headers below for information on what you want to know more about.
Psychological interventions can help people experiencing mental health difficulties. For those with psoriasis, stress-management focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in particular has been shown to not only improve psychological wellbeing, but also reduce the severity of psoriasis when combined with medical treatment.
CBT is a type of talking therapy, which focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour. It uses certain tasks such as ‘thought records’ that help you identify any negative thoughts you might have, how they make you feel, why you have them, how realistic they are, what alternative thoughts may be more realistic, and how you feel after going through the task. Through tasks like these, CBT teaches you coping mechanisms to challenge any negative patterns of thinking and retrain yourself to think in a more rational way, interrupting the negative cycles of thinking that can cause people to feel depressed or anxious. Some of the tasks are done during the session, and some are done by yourself as ‘homework’.
For more information, check the MIND guidance on CBT.
IPT is a type of talking therapy for people with depression who may have difficulties in relating to or interacting with others. For example, someone with depression could benefit from IPT if they feel isolated because they have withdrawn from friends and family while their mood has been low.
IPT helps people to recover by tackling difficult sources of tension in relationships such as conflict, life changes, grief, loss, or what is felt to be missing from a relationship. By working through these and other aspects of relationships that are relevant to a person, many people find they become better at interacting with others and feel much better as a result.
For more information, check this Talking Therapies guidance by the NHS Berkshire.
Counselling is a type of talking therapy which helps people deal with many problems, including a range of mental health difficulties, physical health conditions, life events, emotions or other issues. The core of counselling is listening to you talk about your difficulties without judging or criticising you, so the counsellor understands you better and can provide insight, as well as help you find your own solutions to problems.