We’ve known for a long time that stress and anxiety can cause skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis to flare up. Many people notice that their symptoms get worse when they are worried about something, such as a problem at work or exams coming up at school. However, recent research has revealed that there is even more of a connection between our emotions and our skin than was previously thought.
Anxiety and skin disease
Scientists at the University of Basel in Switzerland recently conducted a study looking at the physical and mental health of more than 6000 young people. They found that people who experienced anxiety as children or teenagers were more likely to develop a skin condition later on. Other kinds of mental and emotional health problems were associated with other kinds of physical illnesses too. Although it is important to realise that having an anxiety disorder does not mean you will inevitably develop a skin condition, this research makes it clear that the mind and body are very closely connected. We need to tackle both the mental and physical effects of illness in order to have the best effects.
Coping with anxiety
Talking to your GP or another doctor is a good start if you‘re feeling stressed or anxious. Simply expressing how you feel can often help. You will also get advice on managing your anxiety symptoms, the treatment options that are available, and where you can turn for extra support. You may be referred to a specialist, such as a psychologist or counsellor who can work with you to find ways of managing anxiety or panic attacks. Techniques such as CBT, breathing exercises, and visualisation can often help with anxiety. If your anxiety is coupled with a skin disorder, it is important to get help from a dermatologist too. Bringing your physical symptoms under control should have an impact on your mental wellbeing, just as reducing your stress and anxiety will help to improve your skin.