Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that affects roughly, 7.5 million Americans currently. It commonly presents itself with dry, itchy plaques on your skin’s surface, that can sometimes be scaly and produce silver flakes. While there are many elements that can trigger flares including: hereditary predisposition, environmental factors and mood changes, there is no known cause of psoriasis.
Often times, people can become depressed when dealing with the symptoms of this disorder. Naturally, suffering from the itchiness and dryness of the plaques proves troubling but the embarrassment of the aesthetics can wreak havoc on a persons self esteem and confidence, as well.
Allowing depression to creep in can be detrimental to caring for your psoriasis properly, as depression and stress can in fact cause your symptoms to worsen. Below are three tips you can take to keep depression linked to psoriasis at bay.
Step 1: Become Educated
Get to know your disease. Understanding your condition will help you in identifying your triggers, finding proper methods of treatment and provide a foundation for you to accept your disorder and move forward with living with it. While there is an abundant amount of resources online for you to gather information about your condition, speak with your doctor or seek treatment from a dermatologist to help educate you and assist you with finding a treatment regimen that will work for you.
Step 2: Reduce Your Stress
I realize that it is impossible to avoid stress altogether; however, stress is a destructive side effect that will worsen psoriasis flare ups. There are many steps you can take to reduce the stress in your life including:
- Get an Adequate Amount of Good Sleep: Monitor how many hours of sleep are right for you and then make sure that you get them. Sleeping to long will cause you to be unproductive and lazy whereas, not getting enough sleep will cause you to feel tired and bogged down the entire day, so it is very important that you determine how many hours leave you feeling the most refreshed and motivated for the day and then sleep them!
- Relaxation Techniques: Many people find deep breathing exercises and meditation to be prudent measures of relaxation. For others, you may seek out engaging in relaxation activities including: Tai-Chi, Yoga and Pilates.
- Seek Support: If you are having a difficult time coping with your condition, it may be in your best interest to seek others who are suffering from psoriasis and visit that support group.
- Journal: Keep a daily journal of your activities and meals to help you identify what your personal triggers are.
Step 3: Eat Healthy
Poor diets that consist of regular trips through the fast food drive thru, excessive amounts of sodium and sugar and overindulgence in substances such as: caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, have all been linked to both psoriasis and depression. Limit or eliminate these ways of eating altogether for better results with clearing up psoriasis.
Eat a diet rich in lean meats, fatty fishes, brightly colored fruits and green, leafy vegetables. Many people are enjoying the benefits of raw diets and going gluten free; however, the National Psoriasis Foundation discourages eliminating gluten from your diet completely, unless you are positive it is the culprit of your outbreaks, or if you are suffering from celiac disease.
By incorporating these three tips into your psoriasis treatment regimen, you have a better chance of fighting off depression linked to your condition. Of course, treating the actual flare is important for waiving off infection and clearing up your skin. Your best defense is replacing the essential skin lipids, maximizing your skin barrier optimization (SBO), and replacing the ceramides lost due to environmental factors and sun damage.