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The Emotional Effects of Psoriatic Arthritis

Living with psoriatic arthritis has its challenges. The pain, stiffness, and fatigue get talked about a lot.

But there's an emotional side to the disease, too. It's not unusual to get frustrated as you try to find relief from your symptoms and struggle with simple tasks that used to be easy. You may worry about the cost of your treatment. It might feel like you're letting others down or becoming a burden to them. And depending where your skin plaques are, psoriasis might feel embarrassing to you.

These are all normal reactions. But they don't have to pull your life goals and relationships off-track. You can deal with them in a positive way. While you may not be able to control your disease, you do have a say in how you handle it.

Stress and Anxiety

Any long-term illness comes with reasons to be stressed. With psoriatic arthritis, medication side effects and not being able to exercise can pile on.

Your tension may look like:

  • Low energy
  • Poor sleep
  • More irritable
  • Changes in appetite
  • Avoiding your social life

The tricky thing is that it can become a cycle. A flare-up of symptoms can increase your stress, and then the extra stress makes your pain and skin worse -- which adds stress. Anxiety can lead to poor shut-eye, which leaves you feeling more tired and achy the next day, so you won't sleep as well. There's even evidence that worrying about psoriasis may keep your treatment from working its best for you.

Do something nice for yourself every day to ease the effects of stress. It doesn't have to be a big deal. Make yourself a cup of herbal tea in the afternoon. Even a few quiet minutes of "me time" when you wake up or before you go to bed can help. It's not selfish. It's as important as taking your medication.

Loneliness and Isolation

You may find yourself focusing more and more on your discomfort and unhappiness, instead of being interested in the lives of people you care about or even your own activities. Perhaps it seems that people treat you differently, too. You might be tempted to pull away and not make the effort to be social. But that isn't good for you.

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