Psoriasis is linked to depression, poor sleep quality, and anxiety interacting with and being around others, researchers from University Hospital Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele in Italy reported. The findings were recently published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, in a study titled “Psychopathological Variables and Sleep Quality in Psoriatic Patients.”
Particular attention has been given to the existing link between psoriasis and psychosocial stress. In fact, psychosocial stress is a risk factor for this skin disease — a disease that can, in turn, dramatically affect a patient’s’ self-image, causing considerable stress.
To assess the prevalence of psychiatric disturbances and sleep disorders in psoriatic patients, while also taking into account demographic and clinical variables, the researchers recruited 102 patients with psoriasis. All were asked to complete the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), the Interaction Anxiousness Scale (IAS), the Audience Anxiousness Scale (AAS), and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). The severity of the patients’ skin lesions was assessed using the Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI).
Results revealed that psoriasis was associated with depression (37.5% of patients), clinically relevant interaction anxiety (46.1%), and clinically relevant audience anxiety (47.1%).
Thirty-nine patients (38.2%) presented a PSQI ≥ 5, the cutoff value indicating poor sleep quality. An association between interaction anxiety and psoriasis-related erythema of the lower limbs, as well as between PSQI ≥ 5 and head psoriasis-related erythema, was found, particularly among male patients.
“In light of what has been reported here, it is apparent that … psoriatic patients should be assessed from a holistic point of view, in order to identify associated disorders that could benefit from targeted treatments. Other studies with a larger sample size and a healthy control group are necessary to confirm our results,” the researchers concluded.
Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease which is characterized by patches of abnormal skin. These skin patches are typically red, itchy, and scaly, and may vary in severity from small and localized to full body. Psoriasis affects 2%–4% of the general population in Western countries.