New Study Reports Eczema as a Risk Factor for Anxiety and Depression

New Study Reports Eczema as a Risk Factor for Anxiety and Depression

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2 August 2022

Eczema, a common skin condition, has been recently found linked to mental conditions such as depression and anxiety in a study. The study reveals that eczema increases the risk of suffering from conditions like depression and anxiety by 63%.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a skin condition that results in an itchy, dried and inflamed skin appearance. The condition is basically the most common form of atopic dermatitis. There are specific triggers that are known to be responsible for the causation of eczema. 

Relating to a similar experience, I can tell that one of my friends developed eczema after using Multani mitti the wrong way. She was trying this home remedy to get rid of the acne but this self-treatment resulted in eczema. After visiting the top hospitals in Islamabad, she was then diagnosed and treated for the condition.

Some of the common symptoms of eczema include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itchiness
  • Rough and scaly skin patches 
  • The appearance of raised bumps on your skin
  • Swelling and inflammation in skin areas
  • Changes in skin coloration in affected areas

These symptoms can vary from person to person. 

What Triggers Eczema?

There are several possible triggers of eczema. These triggers can cause eczema symptoms to get better from worse and then again make them worse. Here are some of the common eczema triggers to know about:

  • Extremely dry skin
  • Too hot or too cold temperatures can affect your skin’s natural moisture
  • Excessive sweating
  • Allergens in your surrounding environment such as pollen, dust, molds etc
  • Microbial infections especially the ones arising from bacterial, fungal or viral infections
  • Food allergies come from eggs, peanuts, milk, nuts etc.
  • Hormonal changes during various phases such as pregnancy and menstruation.

Stress is recognized as an important trigger of eczema as well. There are several studies that prove the link between eczema and mental health

Eczema and Mental Health – What’s the Association?

Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a common condition and has been linked to psychological conditions. The link has been verified by several studies that show that eczema increases the risk of suffering from psychological conditions by 63%. The risk in case of depression is 64% while for anxiety 68% increased risk is known.

The data was collected from 20 different studies that include eczema sufferers and non-sufferers as the control. The relationship has been proved and there are several causes that have been linked to this increased risk of suffering from depression and anxiety. According to the authors who conducted this research the speculated factors that could be increasing an individual’s risk for suffering from depression and anxiety included sleep disruption and social stigma associated with the condition.

As atopic dermatitis or eczema affects the body parts that are visible generally. Some of the most common areas affected by dermatitis include the skin on your hands, feet, neck and face. These areas are generally exposed and thus the condition is related to the social stigmatization and social isolation among patients. 

Eczema being a skin condition is commonly known for its physical implications and the psychological aspects associated with the condition are less likely to get addressed. The exact mechanism that is responsible for this association between eczema and psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression still remains unknown and may need to be further investigated. 

Antidepressants and Eczema Symptoms Relief

In continuation to the previous findings, there were further studies conducted to confirm this association. In another study, conducted on animals, the symptoms of atopic eczema were relieved when the experimental mice were given doses of antidepressants medicine. This medicine not only minimizes the appearance of symptoms of psychological stress but also reduces the inflammation that is a key feature of eczema. In the case of humans, further studies are aligned to study the effects of antidepressants on the treatment of eczema but there is more research required in this regard.

Bottom Line!

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition that involves several triggers and can have variable symptoms in patients of different ages. There are studies that establish the link between this skin condition and psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety. The possible explanations include the social stigma associated with the conditions however, further investigations are required in this regard.

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