Psoriasis patients and their loved ones score nearly identically on anxiety, depression, and quality of life scales, according to a study from the June 2014 issue of The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. This is especially true of family members, even if they are not affected by the disease. This study is the first to reveal the quality of life of people surrounding patients with psoriasis.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, and scaly patches on the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body, but typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees, or scalp. About a third of people with psoriasis have a family member with the disease as well. It affects about 7.5 million Americans.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with psoriasis also experience higher rates of anxiety and depression. People with psoriasis are twice as likely to have thoughts of suicide and die four years younger on average.

The Study

Researchers surveyed 130 participants. Thirty-four had diagnosed psoriasis, 49 lived with a psoriasis patient, and 47 were healthy individuals without a family member or friend with psoriasis. Participants took the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) or the Family Dermatology Life Quality Index (FDLQI) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

For 87.8% of cohabitants, psoriasis impaired quality of life. Furthermore, for both them and those diagnosed with psoriasis, anxiety and depression levels were significantly higher than the control group.Levels of depression and anxiety in these groups did not differ.

“Psoriasis markedly worsens the global well-being of patients and their cohabitants, who experienced an impairment of their quality of life and higher levels of anxiety and depression," the researchers concluded in the study.

What It Means

Psoriasis is already widely understood to affect both the quality of life and the mental health of patients. This new study confirms those findings and further asserts that relatives of these patients also experience lower quality of life, anxiety, and depression. While there is currently no cure for psoriasis, anxiety and depression is regularly treated with therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a form of treatment that explores the patterns of thinking that lead to inappropriate responses in individuals.

Date of original publication: .

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Eliseo Martínez-García, Salvador Arias-Santiago, Ignacio Valenzuela-Salas, Cristina Garrido-Colmenero, Valentín García-Mellado, Agustín Buendía-Eisman. Quality of life in persons living with psoriasis patients. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2014; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2014.03.039