Patients with psoriasis may have an increased risk of depression, according to research being presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s 2015 Summer Academy Meeting in New York.
“Psoriasis has far-reaching implications for patients’ physical and mental health, and that can include an increased risk of depression,” Roger S. Ho, MD, MPH, FAAD, assistant professor of dermatology, the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, NYU School of Medicine/Langone Medical Center, New York, said in a press release.
Roger S. Ho
Ho stated in the release that after he had treated one patient with severe psoriasis and a clear case of depression, “the more I looked, the more I saw depression symptoms in my other patients with psoriasis.”
Ho and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey to study cases of psoriasis and depression among 12,382 patients. Major depression criteria was met by 16.5% of the patients with psoriasis, with the odds of having major depression double in the patients with psoriasis, according to the release. After adjusting for risk factors, including age, gender, race, BMI, physical activity, smoking and alcohol use history, and other conditions including a history of myocardial infarction, stroke and diabetes mellitus, there was still a significant association between psoriasis and depression, according to the release.
The public’s stigmatization of psoriasis may be a reason for the connection between the conditions, Ho reported. People who are unfamiliar with psoriasis may react unfavorably to the condition, which is highly visible on the skin, he said.
Ho also reported that the severity of the psoriasis was not linked to the likelihood of depression.
“It seems that it really depends on the patients’ view of themselves, rather than on the extent of the psoriasis,” he stated in the release.
While the research suggested an association between depression and psoriasis, a causal effect was not established, according to the release. Further research is needed on the connection between the condition, Ho reported.
“There may be some biologic or genetic factors in play that we are not fully aware of,” Ho reported.
Patients with psoriasis need to be made aware of the depression risk and should consult a physician if they are experiencing depression symptoms, Ho stated in the release. He also encouraged patients with psoriasis to follow their treatment plans, as improving psoriasis symptoms may alleviate or prevent future depression symptoms