If you have ever pondered the query of the chicken and egg and which came first, this might help you understand the link between psoriasis and stress. It has to do with a vicious cycle that once started is hard to correct. How does stress affect psoriasis? Let’s find out.
Inevitable Link Between Psoriasis And Stress
Doctors are not exactly sure what causes psoriasis, but it seems the immune system can attack the body causing skin cells to grow abnormally and rapidly. Because stress can have an impact on our immune system and how it works, many doctors suspect this is why it affects psoriasis. These unsightly patches of dry scaly red skin can flare when a person is under stress.
Psoriasis and stress are linked, and although psoriasis is a chronic and genetic condition, environmental causes, traumatic life events, and stress can make symptoms worse. Many people have their very first flare of psoriasis during a particularly stressful time in their lives.
Those with psoriasis find it stressful to be around other people who may wonder about the condition and if it is contagious. Many wear clothing to hide their flares, and when ongoing treatments yield no positive results, stress and frustration follow.
The bottom line is that psoriasis triggers stress when unsightly patches flare, and stress exacerbates psoriasis. How can you break this cycle?
Treating Psoriasis By Managing Stress
Once you realize that stress can initiate and make psoriasis even worse, stress management should be a priority.
There are multiple ways to manage your stress. Consider some of the following:
- Exercise is a great way to relieve any type of stress as well as help to reduce weight and increase metabolism. Regular exercise helps to release endorphins making it easier to sleep which will reduce stress levels. Start slow and don’t try to do too much too fast. Check with your physician if you aren’t sure how to begin.
- Certain stress-induced behaviors like drinking alcohol in excess or smoking aggravate psoriasis and can affect the severity of the condition. Try enrolling in a smoking cessation program and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Find your own healthy coping mechanisms. Try yoga, tai chi, get weekly massages, or meditation. Listen to calming music while exercising.
- See a counselor if you need professional help with stress management.
You can’t cure psoriasis, but you can reduce the amount and severity of flare ups.