Acne & Depression
Acne is a physical problem that most obviously affects a person's outward appearance. It is often overlooked, however, that acne also has an effect on a person's mental and emotional health. For longtime acne sufferers, depression may occur due to the stress and anxiety surrounding their physical appearance and self-esteem.
According to the Dermatology Online Journal, "Psychiatric disorders can develop secondary to acne vulgaris." Clinical depression is among the disorders that may develop as a result of ongoing suffering from acne. When compared to other medical groups, including cancer patients and other dermatological patients, acne sufferers have a higher prevalence of depression and suicidal ideation.
Acne has a negative impact on social and mental functioning. According to the Dermatology Online Journal, impairment in self-esteem, dissatisfaction with appearance and inhibitions of social interactions are among the subjective effects that may occur secondarily to acne. Quality of life is greatly impacted by acne as well. The impact on quality of life caused by acne may be greater than the impact on people who suffer from chronic conditions such as asthma and epilepsy.
While acne may negatively impact someone psychologically, it is also possible that mood or stress level actually exacerbate acne. According to Time Online, in a study done by Statistics Norway, it was found that there is a linear relationship between mood and acne. It was discovered during this study that the more severe the acne was, the worse the depression symptoms were as well.
The misconceptions surrounding acne are often themselves a cause of depression and distress for acne sufferers. The most common misconception, that acne is caused by a lack of hygiene, has led to a stigma that causes embarrassment for those who suffer from acne. Parents and peers who don't understand the myths and facts about acne may inadvertently worsen the depression by making comments or criticizing the sufferer.
While it is hard to tell exactly who will suffer from acne or depression secondary to acne, steps can be taken at the onset of the problem to reduce the chances of depression and other psychiatric disorders. Acne is difficult to treat as no one treatment works for everybody. However, seeking treatment and being aggressive about finding something that works as soon as the acne appears may prevent the lasting psychological effects associated with chronic acne. Parents can help their children by being informed and seeking treatment for their children immediately as opposed to waiting for the acne to disappear on its own as acne often continues into the late teens or adulthood.
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