It can be aggravating to a person dealing with eczema when people suggest that the disorder has a psychological foundation. Nevertheless, understanding how emotional factors influence eczema can help you improve your current symptoms and prevent or reduce the severity of future outbreaks.
The field of psychodermatology focuses on the connection between psychiatric factors and skin disorders such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema— the last of which is medically known as atopic dermatitis. There are many aspects of skin disorders that professionals in this discipline t, such as:
- the frequency and level of anxiety and depression experienced by people with skin problems
- whether negative emotional issues came before the skin disorder or resulted from the physical symptoms
- demographic factors associated with certain skin problems
- personality features connected with skin disorders
- how emotional stress triggers flareups
- negative effects on the person's self-image and self-confidence
Psychological Factors & Eczema
If you feel defensive about the idea that your eczema symptoms have a psychological component, consider how emotional stress can cause other physical symptoms. People blush when they feel embarrassed, for example. They can develop an upset stomach due to anxiety and feel physical fatigue when depressed.
More than 70 percent of people with eczema experienced a stressful life event just before their first outbreak. Stress can cause flareups and worsen existing symptoms. That's because stress elevates inflammation in the skin.
Oddly enough, certain demographic characteristics are associated with eczema. People who grew up in a small family of a relatively high-level social, economic and educational background are at higher risk. Moving from the country to the city is another risk factor.
Psychodermatology as Holistic Therapy
Holistic therapy treats the patient as a whole person instead of only focusing on a specific physical ailment. This can help uncover the source of the problem and resolve it at a more fundamental level.
Not only eczema and other skin problems benefit from holistic therapy. People also may experience good results from holistic treatment when they are dealing with disorders associated with chronic stress. Some of these include fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome.
How You Can Start Using Psychodermatology
In addition to using physical treatments such as topical medications and prescription oral corticosteroids, you might also consider:
- psychological counseling to talk about family, work or other issues causing stress
- hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis
- biofeedback sessions
- massage therapy
- meditation, yoga and other relaxation techniques for stress relief
Combining a psychological and physical approach to healing eczema can be very effective. Take steps to improve your symptoms and prevent future outbreaks. For further information about eczema, consider contacting Desert Dermatology.