Eczema and Depression – How to cope!

I’m sorry if this blog isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but living with eczema is anything but, also the fact that eczema and depression go hand in hand. Granted, eczema is a painful condition characterized by feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, questions of “why me” just to mention but a few.

Eczema and depression have often gone hand in hand. Whether you’re suffering from eczema or have a family member agonizing with it, the fact of the matter is that words of encouragement alone don’t cut it.
You feel dejected, alone in this world and more often than not, as if the world has conspired to lock you into a mechanical mode of reaction impossible to resist.

You light up every time you come across the word “eczema remedy” online and desperately try everything to keep the condition behind you.
The fact of the matter is, eczema is more than skin deep. It’s not just about the irritation, the pain, and the discomfort. The reality of the matter is, eczema, also known as dermatitis, has the ability to affect your relationship, self-esteem, career and worst of all, your emotional well-being and mental health. In the UK alone, according to the National Eczema Society, over 6 million children and adults struggle with eczema. It is further projected that 1 in every 12 adults and 1 in every 5 children in the UK have eczema.

That said, what you and I can’t run away from is the rather intrinsic link between eczema and depression. A considerable number of people struggling with eczema are visibly embarrassed with the symptoms of the condition and as such tend to seclude themselves and avoid interacting with others.

Whether real or imagined, they view everyone as critical of them and children bore the brunt of it all as they are made fun of by their peers and in worst case scenarios bullied.

The matter is further compounded by the fact that those who exhibit severe symptoms (atopic dermatitis) tend to suffer from depression a condition which if left unchecked, could lead to suicidal thoughts. Owing to the fact that a lot of people make judgments based on our skin appearance, the psychological impact could be anywhere between anxiety and depression.
The seclusion, lack of social interaction caused by Eczema and depression, low self-esteem, feeling of inadequacy not to mention pockets of bullying and resentment from peers here and there could lead to anxiety and depression. No one is immune to depression especially when their backs are against the wall and constantly feeling inadequate and unloved. It’s not unusual for some people to want to end it all.

A good number have tried suicide, others have locked everyone out and engaging in simple activities ditched owing to the harrowing experience of bullying and resentment (especially among kids with eczema).

So how can you deal with depression when you have eczema?

First of all, it is important to know that you are not alone. I know you might feel as if you are in your own world with no one to turn to. That is far from the truth. Many other people have been where you are and overcame it. You need to keep a positive attitude and block out negative thoughts. Here are some ways you can deal with Eczema and depression.

  •  Get as much information about the condition.

    With eczema, ignorance is not bliss. It is essential that you educate yourself and learn as much as possible about the condition. Know what triggers your condition to be able to cope as well as handle any new symptoms that might arise. In other words, be on top of things, don’t despair and believe that a positive attitude can go a long way in remedying the situation.

  • Be realistic about your condition.

    Don’t believe the hype and everything you read online that your condition will disappear overnight. Take it slow, stick to your treatment regimen and gradually, your situation will get better. Some eczema can affect the head and face which can cause distress to the sufferer as it’s a very visible area of the body. Eczema can even cause hair loss which is just another thing to worry about.

  • Seek support groups

    Avoid being solitude or locking yourself up as this can simply aggravate your problem. Lack of socialization will simply worsen your condition and scale up your stress levels. Identify and link up with others who are experiencing the same condition as yours. Open up, talk, encourage each other and learn more about your condition and how to cope with it. Get to know how others deal with anxiety and depression.

  • Work on reducing stress

    Believe it or not, Eczema and depression are not the main reason we have flare-ups. Stress has a direct effect in triggering eczema flares. It is in your best interest to reduce stress as much as possible. Engage in a stress management activity or exercise that works for you such as yoga, meditation, taking deep breathes, Pilates just to mention but a few. Above all, ensure that you get sufficient sleep as lack of sleep can be exhausting, stressful and draining.

How to diagnose depression

When someone has depression it can be difficult for them to imagine that treatment will actually help. They believe there’s nothing a Doctor can do for them, but the sooner they seek help the better.

There are no physical tests to diagnose depression, but your Doctor or GP will want to examine you and carry out some urine or blood tests to rule out any other conditions that have similar symptoms.

Your Doctor or GP will ask you a number of questions to determine if you have depression. By asking you lots of questions about your general health and how the way you feel each day is affecting you mentally or physically.

You need to be as open and honest as possible with your answers. Describing your symptoms and how they’re affecting you will help your Doctor determine whether you have depression and how severe it is. From here your Doctor can start to put a plan of action together to help you, this maybe medication, lifestyle changes or Therapy.

Any discussion you have with your GP will be confidential. This rule will only ever be broken if there’s a significant risk of harm to either yourself or others, and if informing a family member or carer would reduce that risk.

Your Doctor will conduct a full physical examination and ask you a number of simple questions to determine if you have depression. It’s nothing to be worried about and talking will really help. You may have a medical condition causing your depression, which could be treated very easily. 

What Is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) is sadly very common and a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. If depression is not treated quickly it can have a massive impact on your life. Fortunately, it is also treatable, you must seek professional help from your Doctor or GP.

Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function both at work and home. If can affect your social interaction with people you love the most. You find yourself pushing everyone away and don’t enjoy life in general. If left untreated it can progress and totally take over your life.

Eczema and Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities and hobbies.
  • Loss of appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue with no get-up and go.
  • Feeling worthless or guilty, feeling no one cares and you can stop caring for yourself and others
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide and self-harming

Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression. If you have any of the symptoms above for longer than a week please seek medical advice.

Eczema can cause depression for a number of reasons, we recently wrote an interesting article about the Military not accepting people with eczema or discharging people who develop eczema whilst serving in the military or Army. Read how this affected one young man and caused his depression and sent his life spiraling out of control.

Read his story here.

Seek professional assistance as soon as you can.

If all the above comes to nothing, it is time you sought the help of a professional to help you deal with depression. If you are harboring suicidal thoughts or any kind of harm to yourself, it is imperative that you try and get assistance from a person who can help you through the anxiety and ways through which you can manage your depression. Helpful contact details are available HERE!

In conclusion, it is very important to understand that you are not alone. You might be feeling alone and as if the world is unfair because of your skin condition. Try remedies, talk to others experiencing the same condition, learn as much as possible and above all, have a positive attitude. You can and you will beat eczema!

We have a great article on helpful everyday items that will make life easier for you, everything from Eczema gloves to UV Wands. Click here to be re-directed to this blog.

There’s nothing harder than caring for your son or daughter who’s suffering from eczema, Not only do you have their skin to care for, you also have their mental state to care for. Read a Mothers story about how she coped or didn’t care for her son. Its heartbreaking but a very truthful account of her experiences with eczema. CLICK HERE TO READ HER STORY

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Jason Eisler

Jason is the Author and Owner of Our Eczema Story. His articles, comments, and suggestions are not intended to replace any medical advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials.