Is Mental Health a Topic With Atopic Dermatitis?

Recently I stumbled across an article that got me thinking. It was an article that came out in April by Dr. Nian-Sheng Tzeng and colleagues, published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, about the impact of asthma, allergies, and atopic dermatitis on psychiatric disorders. As an adult, I’m still suffering from some allergies and atopic dermatitis. Unfortunately, my children inherited that trait and also suffer from the same issues. According to this article, there may be a small link between people who suffer from atopic dermatitis and the development of psychiatric disorders. For people with allergies and asthma, the likelihood of developing mental health issues is even greater.

Emotional toll of eczema

In another one of my posts, I summarized the study results, particularly as it relates to atopic dermatitis. This post is more about my personal thoughts regarding the study. As I read through the study report, I began thinking that the overall findings did not surprise me too much. I don’t think it is too surprising that a condition or disease of any kind may cause a person to feel uncomfortable, depressed, and frustrated.

Since atopic dermatitis is so visible and in many cases, tough to hide, it’s understandable that the skin disease would make a person feel self-conscious. I certainly know that I frequently feel this way. No matter what state my eczema is in and regardless of whether I feel that I’ve successfully covered it up, the thought is still in the back of my mind that it’s still red and flaky. In public, I constantly remind myself not to scratch even if it’s itchy, because doing so will cause redness and flaky skin. This kind of stress wears on a person. It’s possible to see the connection between eczema and depression.

Children and mental health

For kids, the article mentioned the association between eczema and ADHD. Kids with eczema may also experience more emotional, conduct, and hyperactivity problems. I’m not an expert on ADHD or any of the other possible issues, but I can easily imagine that if I’m itchy and uncomfortable with my eczema, then my kids are far more uncomfortable. It’s not to say that their eczema may be worse than mine, but that their personal coping mechanisms may not be as sophisticated. In other words, they are feeling frustrated and uncomfortable in their own skin. At times it may be difficult for them to express how they feel and why they feel or act in a particular way. As they get older, hopefully, their coping mechanisms improve. When they reach adolescence and become more self-aware of their own body and features, they may experience instances of depression. This is all speculation, but based on my own experiences and observations from caring for three kids with eczema, I think these are all reasonable possibilities.

Challenges with other atopic conditions

The article states several different types of psychiatric disorders that may be present as a result of atopic dermatitis, allergies, or asthma. People who suffer from atopic dermatitis may also have difficulty with allergies or asthma, or even all three. As one of those people, I’ll take these study results “with a grain of salt”. I’m not extremely surprised by the findings and won’t let it scare me. What I will do is keep this in mind and be aware of how atopic dermatitis may change mine or my kids’ mental state.

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