Mental Health Spotlight: What You Need to Know About the Stress-Psoriasis Connection

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes red spots, with dry skin lesions. It can occur anywhere in your body, but it usually affects the elbows, the hair follicles and the knees.

Psoriasis occurs when an overactive immune system sends the wrong symptoms, accelerating the growth of skin cells. This causes new skin cells to form before the old cells break down.

A variety of factors can cause psoriasis outbreaks, such as:

diseases
weather
medicines
depression

Here’s what you need to know about stress-psoriasis, and how to manage stress and reduce flares.
How does stress cause psoriasis?

Within the family, work, and other personal obligations, it can feel like you are being dragged into many places. And while everyone experiences daily stress, too much stress (or chronic stress) can affect your health and make conditions like psoriasis worse.

The exact link between psoriasis and depression is unknown. But psoriasis flares and recurrence may be due to the body’s response to stressful situations.

When you are under pressure, your body opens up to a fight or flight response. This is a natural, automatic response to a visible threat. This stimulates your body to release hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline gives you energy boost. On the other hand, Cortisol reduces the activity of the system in your body which reduces the effectiveness of the anti-flight response. This can include digestion and your immune system.

Although cortisol is important for health, chronic stress can lead to too much cortisol in your body. This can deplete your immune system imbalances, causing an outbreak of psoriasis.

Problems with your immune system can also trigger an inflammatory response. Inflammation is the way your body reacts to the threat. But these threats do not simply involve germs or viruses.

Your body can also see chronic stress as a threat, in which case your immune system triggers an inflammatory response as a defense mechanism.
Remember, too, that stress is not always the result of external factors, such as work, family, or finances. A diagnosis of psoriasis can also cause emotional distress, which can make your condition worse.

Also, psoriasis is unexpected. So while some people have mild symptoms, others have severe symptoms that can make them feel inferior.

Although psoriasis is not contagious, self-awareness can cause you to limit your association with others. You may also feel anxious or depressed if treatment does not work immediately or if psoriasis returns after a period of remission.
How to control and reduce stress when living with psoriasis

Learning to manage your stress level can help you feel better. If you are less stressed and anxious, the appearance of your skin may improve.

Here are some ways to help you deal with chronic stress:
Exercise

Regular physical activity can improve your mental health. Exercise releases endocrine hormones such as endorphins and dopamine.

Schedule at least 30 minutes of physical activity several days a week. You can start small, with low-impact exercises such as:

fast moving
cycling
simple aerobics
swimming

Sleep well

Lack of sleep can cause depression. Most adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night.

Promoting restful sleep:

Limit daytime sleepiness.
Avoid bright screens for about 1 to 2 hours before bedtime.
Avoid foods and beverages before going to bed.
Keep your room dark, quiet and comfortable.

Deep breathing

Breathing techniques can help clear your mind and encourage relaxation.

With your eyes closed, breathe in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and then exhale through your mouth. Repeat several times to reduce your heart rate, stress level, and blood pressure.
Get a massage

Massage therapy can help reduce tension, stress, and chronic pain – which can help you feel more relaxed.
Make time for recreation

All work and no play also contribute to stress. Find fun activities to clear your mind of work or your life. Spend a few minutes each day engaging in wholesome relaxation.
Identify the underlying causes

It also helps to keep a journal of stress and to identify things that stress you. Record your daily activities and how you feel. Once you have identified the stressors, take steps to reduce them in your life.
Talk to each other

Keeping your emotions in check can also increase your level of stress. Whether you are suffering from psoriasis or other problems, talk about how you feel. Talk to a relative, trusted friend or doctor.
Taking

Psoriasis is a lifelong condition that can be treated. Even after receiving a pardon, a return visit is possible.

While a variety of factors can cause inflammation, there is a strong link between depression and psoriasis.

Learning to manage stress levels – as well as traditional treatments – can help improve your condition, leading to brighter skin.

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