The Emotional Toll of Chronic Illness

Content warning: This article contains mentions of mental and emotional distress.

Managing symptoms of atopic dermatitis (eczema) is difficult enough, but emotional and mental challenges can also arise. Often, people are coping with not just one chronic condition, but several. This can have a negative impact on their mental health and that of their caregivers.

We conducted a large survey of people living with chronic health conditions such as eczema. We wanted to understand the mental health challenges that result from living with one or more physical health conditions, and how people recognize and manage them.


Mental health symptoms

As if the physical symptoms of eczema were not difficult enough to manage, many people also live with several symptoms of a mental health condition. People with chronic physical conditions experience an average of 12 mental health symptoms. Almost 40 percent of those people deal with these symptoms on a daily basis.

It can be hard to know whether certain symptoms are related to a mental health problem. But dismissing these symptoms can have serious and devastating effects.


Coping with mental health problems

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for mental health conditions. What works for one person may not work for someone else. That makes these conditions challenging to deal with, particularly when you are also managing a chronic physical health condition. But many effective coping tools and treatment options are available to help improve mental health conditions and quality of life.

The Mental Health survey was an online survey conducted with people living with chronic health conditions to gain insights to how physical health conditions impact emotional and mental health, and vice versa. A total of 3,275 respondents completed the survey.

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