Psoriasis can have repercussions on the psyche by changing the patient's daily life for the worse. How to overcome anxiety and stress
There are diseases that the specialist recognizes easily, because the lesions appear on the skin, the most visible part of our body. But psoriasis, which affects about two and a half million people in Italy and in one case out of ten can take on particularly serious characteristics, often does not leave marks only on the epidermis, but also on the emotional state of people, affecting the quality of life of people. To "get rid" and talk about one's own experience, it can be useful to tell the situation. This is the proposal of the Visible Psoriasis-Invisible Impact campaign.
Not just skin
Those suffering from psoriasis, especially if they are moderate and severe (there are different levels of severity of the disease) can have an emotional burden that joins that of skin disease. According to research presented at the Congress of the European Association of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) 2019, 77 percent of people suffering from psoriasis experience anxiety disorders, especially in the moderate-severe form.
"The weight of psychological disorders in psoriasis is poorly analyzed, although the association of anxiety and depression in various forms, in particular the moderate-severe one, is ascertained – explains Mara Maccarone, President of ADIPSO (Association for the Defense of Psoriatics. Psoriasis associates with chronic stress and modifies the patient's daily routine with a negative effect on quality of life and a worsening of psoriasis itself. The stigma, social isolation and loneliness, which have worsened in this period of health emergency from COVID -19, can worsen stress and anxiety. This is why it is important for patients to maintain emotional and social ties that can help them share their problems with other patients and the dermatologist who is treating them and to support the weight and management of psoriatic disease. ".
The pandemic we are experiencing, however, has further exacerbated one of the main problems faced by those who face the disease, that of adherence to therapies, which often depends directly on the good relationship with the patient and on the empathy that is created in the medical relationship- patient. Literature data show that only 50,000 psoriatics in Italy are being treated at about 190 specialized centers. 10 percent wait years before seeking medical attention, 45 percent go to the family doctor, less than one in two patients go to a specialist. Finally, only a very small proportion of patients remain in treatment for his psoriasis by the doctor who visited him the first time.
A campaign to tell your story
Finding the strength to communicate to others your malaise, which can go well beyond skin lesions, therefore becomes the optimal strategy to overcome the anxieties and mood drops that can accompany the disease. The pooling of experiences is the basis of the Visible Psoriasis-Invisible Impact initiative which involves the collection of stories told by the patients themselves, to be collected on the site of the same name. At the end of the campaign, a jury will select the story that is most able to inspire a narrative for the graphic novel that tells the patient's emotional experience, translated on paper into emotions and feelings by the skillful pencil of Sergio Algozzino, one of the most appreciated Italian illustrators . The campaign is carried out by Amgen in partnership with ADIPSO – Association for the Defense of Psoriatics, ADOI – Association of Italian Hospital Dermatologists and SIDeMaST – Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.