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Psoriatic arthritis and depression: What is the link?

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can contribute to some mental health conditions, including depression. In this article, we look at the link between PsA and depression, as well as treatments and coping strategies.

Along with its effects on the joints and skin, psoriatic arthritis can affect a person’s mental health. People with psoriatic arthritis are more likely to experience depression.

Psoriatic disease can have a significant impact on mental health and well-being. This may partly be due to social factors, the stress of living with a chronic condition, fatigue, and inflammation in the body. Research has linked inflammation to both psoriasis and depression.

This article outlines the causes of depression among people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), as well as information on treating and coping with depression.

What is the link between PsA and depression?

The following factors can contribute to the development of depression in people with PsA.

Social stigma and low self-esteem

During a flare-up, a person with PsA may develop skin lesions or plaques. Some people may feel anxious about these symptoms, and this can contribute to feelings of low self-esteem, isolation, and loneliness.

Conversely, a person can experience pain and swelling without the skin flares of psoriasis, which means that it can be an invisible illness.

If a person has no visible symptoms, they may feel that their friends, family, or colleagues do not take their illness seriously, or that they underestimate their pain. This can be frustrating and upsetting.

Reduced quality of life

People with PsA may experience a range of physical symptoms, such as chronic pain, fatigue, and reduced mobility.

These symptoms can make it difficult for a person to carry out their daily activities, resulting in a reduced quality of life (QoL).

A 2014 study looked at the mental health of 306 people with PsA and 135 people with psoriasis but not PsA. The authors report that depression and anxiety were more common among people with PsA than among those with psoriasis alone.

In this study, several factors linked to QoL played a role in the development of depression. These included disease activity, pain, fatigue, and disability.

Read on: Psoriatic arthritis and depression: What is the link?

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