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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year millions of adults are impacted by mental health issues. This could be a personal experience living with a mental or emotional health condition or being impacted by a friend or family member who is struggling with a mental health diagnosis. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we hope to hear from our community members about the ways you cope, manage and find support to stay emotionally healthy.

Living with a chronic condition, such as atopic dermatitis (AD), can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. The physical symptoms of atopic dermatitis can be debilitating and difficult to cope with. The psychological effects of living with AD such as stigmatization, self-consciousness and feelings of helplessness can be just as difficult to manage and may not always be as obvious as the disease itself. In our Atopic Dermatitis In America 2017 survey 30% of participants shared that in addition to their atopic dermatitis they have some type of mood disorder (depression, bipolar disorder, etc) and 43% had anxiety or panic disorders in addition to their atopic dermatitis.

Research also suggests that people diagnosed with atopic dermatitis are at an increased risk for depression.1 With all this in mind, it is important to remember to find ways to care for yourself and to know that you are not alone in this journey of living with a chronic life-long condition.

We’ve rounded up three reminders in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month to remind us all to care for ourselves and work towards maintaining emotional well-being.

Balance stress

stress
Stress can be a cyclical trigger. Stress in one’s life can cause atopic dermatitis symptoms to worsen. In turn, the flare can cause worsening of emotional concerns. You may not be able to eliminate all stress from day to day life, being able to find techniques that will allow you to handle stressful situations and balance life’s ups and downs may help.

Seek support

support
Coping with the emotional toll of atopic dermatitis is just as important as caring for the physical aspects of the condition. It can take effort and often it can be helpful to seek support from others. This may be joining a support group or joining an online community where you can engage with others dealing with atopic dermatitis (also known as atopic eczema), such as the community at atopicdermatitis.net. This also may mean finding professional help from a licensed mental health professional.

Keep up with medical appointments

doctors
Managing your condition and keeping an open line of communication with your medical team is important. Keeping in contact with your doctor or specialist is important so your team can adjust your treatment plan based on your feedback. Treatments may have side effects and sharing how treatments are affecting you is important- your team won’t know how you are feeling or how a treatment is affecting you unless you communicate that to them. Feeling depressed or socially isolated may make attending needed appointments hard, staying in touch with the team who is treating your atopic dermatitis can be an important aspect of staying healthy both physically and emotionally.

Most importantly know you are not alone in this journey. What advice do you have for managing your mental health? Let us know by posting in our forums, sharing your story, or connect with us on Facebook!

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