08-18 Impact of depression – 3: Increases risk of psoriatic arthritis

Posted in Depression

Impact of depression – 3: Increases risk of psoriatic arthritis

When someone lives with a chronic health condition, it can be difficult to maintain a sound emotional health. Previous studies have shown that people suffering from a chronic condition like psoriasis, a lifelong disease manifested through itchy scaly skin and flare-ups, have a higher hazard ratio (HR) for depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies. In other words, depression and the related diseases are the most common comorbid conditions for psoriasis. Apparently, the social isolation stemming from the stigma associated with the disease severely affects one psychologically and socially. 

However, the effect of psoriasis is not just limited to the psychological and social aspects. There is a considerable physical or physiological impact associated with the disease, which has an adverse effect on one’s quality of life. A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology revealed that psoriasis patients who were diagnosed with depression had a 37 percent higher risk of acquiring psoriatic arthritis, as compared to psoriasis patients who did not have depression.

How to combat depression in the presence of another chronic condition

It is estimated that three in 10 psoriasis patients will have psoriatic arthritis, in which the inflammation or the flare up affects the joints as well. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system starts attacking its own cells. In psoriatic arthritis, the inflammation reaches the joints, and consequently, these become swollen and stiff, often, due to the presence of pus.

The study highlights the importance of using preventive measures to curtail depression and to prevent the onset of a highly disabling condition like psoriatic arthritis.  Depression not only alters the emotional state, but also impacts the body’s immunological response and brings about significant changes in the biomarkers. Chronic inflammation in the joint is a manifestation of the physical changes taking place in the body as a result of depression.

Listed below are some of the common measures to deal with depression and lead a happy life:

  • Exercising regularly: Physical activity releases “feel-good hormones” in the body. Swimming and cycling are the best way to keep depression at bay, especially in chronic patients. In case there is a severe form of psoriasis, it is essential to check with the doctor before engaging in any kind of exercise routine.
  • Cutting down on fatty foods: Foods rich in sugar and refined carb can lead to serious issues with mood and energy level. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables releases free radicals that are helpful in regaining vitality and a refreshed mood.
  • Leading a stress-free life: As stress triggers a depressive episode, it is essential to keep stress at bay by engaging in relaxation and body calming exercises such as tai chi, yoga, mindful breathing and meditation.
  • Seeking professional help: As a one size fits all approach does not help in the long run, professional support from a counselor or a therapist is essential for ensuring social and psychological wellbeing. It also pays to gather information about depression and realize that it is manageable.

Road to recovery

Psoriasis is a common disease affecting 1-3 percent of the general population. The social stigma associated with psoriasis is often the root of depression. By leading a stress-free life, sleeping and eating healthy, it is possible to prevent the spread of the disease. For further tips on management and prevention, it is essential to get in touch with a health care expert who can help someone lead a depression-free life.

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, the Depression Treatment Centers of California can provide help on the best depression rehab centers in California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-678-0400 or chat online with our representatives who can assist you in searching for the best evidence-based mental health treatment centers in California.

Read the other articles of the series “Impact of depression:”

  1. Leads to muddled thinking
  2. Increases risks for other psychiatric disorders

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