What’s The Connection Between Stress and Skin Disease?
Stress has been implicated as a complicating factor in many diseases, but what effects do stress levels have on people with skin disease?
A recent study looked at anxiety sensitivity concerns as they affect people with skin disease. Anxiety sensitivity (AS) concerns include flushing and sweating. The authors examined the effects of these reactions on quality of life (QoL). Patients may worry that these visible symptoms might lead to rejection or humiliation when they occur. The authors hypothesized that the more concerned people were about these reactions to stress, the more their QoL would suffer, and they also wondered whether symptoms would increase as well.
The results showed that there was a significant link between the psychological and functional aspects of QoL for individuals with high levels of AS social concerns. Stress can intensify the emotional and functional impairment associated with skin disease among individuals with high AS social concerns. One reason for this link may be because individuals with high AS social concerns are more likely to notice and fear the social repercussions of physiological symptoms and thus report a more severe impact of skin disease on their QoL. In this study, however, stress was not related to the severity of symptoms. The authors conclude that this study shows that stress can be an aggravating factor in skin disease.
They note that in this study AS social concerns moderated the association between stress and skin-related emotional and social functioning in adults with skin disease. They state that this information therefore identifies a vulnerability factor that can exacerbate the effects of skin disease. These results contribute to our understanding of the relationship between psychological risk factors and skin disease.