Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is typically regarded as an uncomfortable but manageable skin condition. Although eczema’s primary symptom involves red and itchy skin, its effects can be far-reaching. Everything from allergies to mental illnesses have been attributed to the condition.
Due to eczema’s chronic status and continued lack of a complete cure, its associated comorbidities may be present for months or even years. Fortunately, these can be controlled with the help of medication and targeted lifestyle changes.
Patients diagnosed with atopic dermatitis may suffer from a wide array of allergies, including hay fever and food sensitivities. Symptoms of hay fever can be treated with over-the-counter drugs or in isolated cases, prescription medications. Those suffering with food allergies are typically advised to follow elimination diets, which in some cases, may actually assist in the reduction of other eczema symptoms.
Allergies may be present in children diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, but they are also experienced long after the condition has been resolved. Research indicates that over one third of children diagnosed with atopic dermatitis suffer from allergies or asthma when they are adults.
Researchers have noted a very clear link between skin and mental health issues in atopic dermatitis patients, with skin irritation flaring up when sufferers are dealing with heavy stress. However, this association does not end with mere increases in stress levels. The odds of experiencing depression, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are greatly increased for those suffering from atopic dermatitis.
The severity of these conditions is likewise linked to the severity of the skin-based eczema symptoms. Research indicates that aggressive prevention of eczema in early childhood may reduce the risk of associated mental illnesses.
The skin irritation associated with atopic dermatitis can be distressing in and of itself, but unfortunately, this condition is also frequently accompanied by allergies, asthma and even mental illness. It is vital for patients diagnosed with eczema and the parents of said patients to be aware of these comorbidities so that, should they arise, they can be appropriately addressed.