Treating psoriasis can be time-consuming and stressful. You may need to apply medicated lotion several times a day. You may have to go in for periodic phototherapy (or light) treatments. If you're taking the newest medications, called biologicals, you may need to go to your doctor's office or clinic for periodic injections or IV infusions. Some therapies have unpleasant side effects, such as skin sensitivity, fatigue, or depression.
With all that to deal with, you may find yourself feeling frustrated and even angry. But stress can trigger outbreaks of psoriasis, making matters worse. So it's especially important to create a strong network of people who can provide emotional support.
For Crystal Barry, excessive sweating wasn't just a nuisance. It shaped her daily activities, even her personality.
Barry, 24, a student from St. Louis, avoided team sports and crowded events. She never wore tank tops or sheer fabrics and often had to bring extra shirts to school after her first shirt was soaked through with sweat. She shied away from social situations, especially ones involving the opposite sex. "I don't like to be around people if I stink," she tells WebMD. "I get real quiet."
You're most likely to get emotional support from close family members -- a parent, a spouse, or a sibling. Most people can count on loved ones to understand and offer practical help. But don't take their support for granted.
Make sure your loved ones understand what the treatments involve and why they are so important.
Ask for practical help, such as a ride to the clinic or someone to keep you company, when you need it.
Also remember that psoriasis can be stressful for those around you. Tell your loved ones how much their support matters to you.
Unfortunately, not all family relationships are healthy and supportive. Some family members may have trouble being supportive. Some may make you feel worse rather than better. It's important to recognize when a family relationship isn't working. In that case, you may need to turn to someone else.
Lean on Close Friends for Psoriasis Support
Close friends can be another source of support and assistance. Since most people don't know very much about psoriasis, it's important to educate friends about the disease and its treatment. Many people are afraid they may catch psoriasis.
Reassure your friends that the disease isn't contagious.
Explain that unlike many diseases, psoriasis isn't something that can be treated and will go away. It's a disease that you will have for the rest of your life.
If you're undergoing a new treatment, tell your close friends what it involves and what the side effects might be. Ask for practical help if you need it.
And don't be afraid to express your feelings. That's what close friends are for, after all.
Be Upfront at Work About Your Psoriasis
Psoriasis treatments or the side effects of therapy may require you to take time off from work.
Talk to your supervisor and any co-workers who need to know about your medical condition. The more they know about psoriasis and the treatments you receive, the more supportive they are likely to be.
Do your part to make sure work-related absences aren't disruptive. If you have to be away for part or all of a day, plan well in advance. Get caught up on work before you have to take a day off. Find people to cover for you, if that's appropriate.
If you don't get the support and help you need, make an appointment to see a human resources counselor.