Research Article|Articles in Press

Psychiatric and psychologic aspects of chronic skin diseases


      Chronic skin diseases can substantially impact a patient's physical, psychologic, and social well-being. Physicians may play a critical role in identifying and managing the psychologic sequelae of the most common chronic skin conditions. Acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, vitiligo, alopecia areata, and hidradenitis suppurativa are chronic dermatologic diseases that put patients at high risk for symptoms of depression, anxiety, and decreased quality of life. Both general and disease-specific scales exist to assess the quality of life in patients with chronic skin disease, the most common being the Dermatology Life Quality Index. The general management approach to the patient with chronic skin disease should incorporate acknowledgment and validation of the patient's struggles, patient education on the potential impact of disease and prognosis; medical management of the dermatologic lesions; coaching on stress management; psychotherapy. Psychotherapies include talk therapy (i.e., cognitive behavioral therapy), arousal-reducing therapies (i.e., meditation, relaxation), and behavioral therapies (i.e., habit reversal therapy). Improved understanding, identification, and management of the psychiatric and psychologic aspects of the most common chronic skin conditions by dermatologists and other healthcare providers may positively affect patient outcomes.


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