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Psoriasis – you don’t have to suffer

Nearly half of psoriasis sufferers have depression caused by coping with the disfiguring skin disease, according to international figures.

Today is World Psoriasis Day 2022 [October 29] and the theme this year is psoriasis and mental health.

It is very apt, as this chronic skin disease can be tricky to keep under control and cause lowered confidence, anxiety and depression. It is commonly itchy and painful, disfiguring and disabling. The International Federation of Psoriatic Disease Associations (IFPA) says a quarter of sufferers have depression and nearly half experience anxiety.

Based on New Zealand figures, more than 3500 Hawke’s Bay residents suffer from psoriasis – so it’s not a small issue, says Hawke’s Bay dermatologist and Mohs surgeon Dr Juber Hafiji.

“The good news is that timely and proper treatment of psoriasis can keep it under control, which in turn can improve your mental wellbeing.”

The options range from simple creams to stronger immunosuppressive medications including newer injection treatments to maintain clearance.  The latter can only be prescribed by a registered dermatologist.

“I have found that people struggle for far too long and suffer in silence despite there being very effective treatments for psoriasis,” says Dr Hafiji.

The IFPA is using this year’s international day to raise awareness of the link between psoriasis and mental health, and to call on people to be understanding of people with the disease.