Psoriasis is a mystery to both specialists and the sufferers themselves. On the one hand, the complexity of the disease in terms of etiology, therapeutic intervention and in general, with all the experience of psoriasis, and on the other hand, the stereotypical patterns in society that stigmatize sufferers through various practices and behaviors, make psoriasis a highly studied subject. of interest.
A few words about psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a chronic, non-communicable, inflammatory condition that affects the skin and joints. Its main symptoms are skin lesions in the form of red layers covered with white tissue in various sizes. The parts of the body that are most commonly affected are the elbows, the knees and the skull. In the places where the inflammation occurs, itching, burning sensation and peeling of the skin is observed. Over the years the disease becomes more and more known, however the exact causes and manifestation of it remain unknown. A clear genetic effect has been found relatively recently (Griffiths, Christophers, & Barker, 2007).
However, research has shown that there are several factors that can lead to psoriasis. In short, we can say that two factors play an important role in etiology: genetic predisposition and factors of “awakening” and manifestation of the disease – both exogenous and endogenous – such as possible infections, drugs, pregnancy and childbirth, diet, alcohol , smoking, stress and general psychological factors (Naldi et al., 2005). It is worth noting that people with psoriasis may also suffer from depression or low self-esteem. Therefore, an important factor in assessing the severity of a psoriasis case is quality of life.
The complexity of psoriasis on a psychological, social and cultural level is admirable if not frightening. There have been countless studies in the past linking psoriasis to stress as a trigger. There is strong evidence that psychological stress can affect the susceptibility of psoriasis and the course of many skin conditions in general. However, this connection (psoriasis-psychological factors) was observed decades ago, and has been discussed for many years. The hypothesis that psoriasis hides its causes in neuropathy dates back to the 1990s (Wood, 1873), with the first empirical research by Wittkower, who was the first to recognize the role of emotional factors in disease (1946).
Psoriasis has long been characterized as a psychosomatic disorder, with the view that stress or psychological stress advises patients as a cause of the disease. Of course, the effect of stress on psoriasis is a small part of the overall picture of the condition. Going deeper into the paths of psoriasis, research has recognized the importance of a person’s emotions in relation to the disease regardless of stress. One of the first areas investigated in this regard is the feeling of worry. Feelings of anxiety related to self-esteem and depression are directly linked to the onset of psoriasis (Tan, Feldman & Balkrishnan, 2012).
Research shows that stress can affect the treatment of psoriasis. Patients in medical care who received recorded stress management instructions performed better than patients who were not instructed. The need for psychological intervention is therefore obvious.
However, it is observed that traditional medicine leaves little to no room for alternative interventions (eg psychological support) in general. At the same time the use of anxiolytic drugs has not been shown to be useful in patients with psoriasis. However, empirical evidence suggests that stress management, through alternatives to conventional medicine, can help relieve the symptoms of psoriasis (Heller, Lee, & Koo, 2011).
Self-help, in all its manifestations, is part of the psychological and social support. Its most common form is the self-help groups through which the interpersonal relationships between people who are united by the common problem are promoted. Self-help group meetings can be a powerful source of support in trying to adapt to the changes that psoriasis brings to their lives. The discussion is open to the public, however some of the topics that can be discussed are psoriasis, its treatment, difficulties in accessing treatment, wider social benefits, the continuous improvement of the services of each association and the exchange of views and experiences in all of the above. A living example of years is the Psoriasis Patients Support Association “KALYPSO”.