As an Executive Editor at SELF, I have written and edited stories about health and wellness for years. During this time, I’ve noticed a pattern: people often view skin conditions as less “serious” than other types of disease. In reality, skin diseases can drastically affect any part of a person’s life. Psoriasis is the perfect example. The latest from SELF Well actually The issue of docuseries examines the effects this condition can have on a person’s mental health – and vice versa. You can see the documentary below.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that can manifest itself differently depending on the type. Plaque psoriasis, the most common form of the disease, creates patches of irritated, flaky skin that can crack, bleed, burn, and itch, according to the Mayo Clinic. Regardless of the type of psoriasis in question, it can be so much more than “just a rash,”
How Well, actually: psoriasis shows that psoriasis and mental health can be inextricably linked, with the two influencing each other in a vicious cycle that can affect a person’s trust, relationships, and self-esteem. Research shows that people with psoriasis are more prone to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, and that the stresses associated with such conditions can also cause psoriasis symptoms to flare up. The link between psychological stress and psoriasis has become even more pressing given the uniquely stressful time we are all now going through thanks to COVID-19.
To shed the spotlight on the link between psoriasis and mental health, SELF examined this link in documentary form, focusing on three people willing to share the very painful and intimate effects of psoriasis on their lives. For Jason, the impact of psoriasis on his confidence – especially in relationships – is undeniable, but his music helped him deal with it. Georgia has experienced social stigma, anxiety, and depression related to her psoriasis, but she has found some important ways to be more comfortable with her skin. And Alisha realized that being open to her psoriasis has a special power – and making people laugh about it too. These three people tell stories full of openness, humor and ultimately hope. In doing so, experts demystify how this complex skin condition works and why the treatment must take the body into account and the mind.
To learn more about this topic, you can also read some other SELF stories about the relationship between psoriasis, mental health and self-esteem:
I learned so much about living – and thriving – with psoriasis from this documentary. I hope you too.