Could You Benefit From Psychodermatology?

by Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer

Psychodermatology has appeared as a new subspecialty of dermatology and psychiatry. It is represented by the Association for Psychoneurocutaneous Medicine of North America (APMNA). Members of the association include dermatologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and allied health professionals. The term psychodermatology represents an understanding that some disorders involve a skin and mind interaction.

What Is a Psychodermatologic Disorder?

According to a review article in the American Family Physician, psychodermatologic disorders fall into three categories: psychophysiologic disorders, primary psychiatric disorders, and secondary psychiatric disorders. Psoriasis is considered a psychophysiologic disorder in that it is associated with skin problems that are not directly connected to the mind but that react to emotional states, such as stress. It is therefore important that the management of psychodermatologic disorders like psoriasis have a dual approach, addressing both the dermatologic and psychologic aspects.

The link between stress and the reactivity of psoriasis is just beginning to be understood. Psoriasis is linked to our immune system and there is a very close relationship between our immune system, levels of stress, and our skin’s inflammation.

The Goals of Collaboration

The goals of this new subspecialty and collaboration of specialists include improved access to services, facilitated research, more collaboration between specialty areas, and an improved the quality of care and life of patients according to the Association for Psychoneurocutaneous Medicine of North America (APNMA).

Some may argue that good medical care should already include integrated and collaborated care for all patients. Others believe that family physicians are already well positioned to handle psychodermatologic disorders, especially since there is often hesitation to receive psychiatric care. However, creating a separate sub-specialty may encourage even more collaboration between specialists in the search for the causes and treatments of such a complex disorder. If you feel like all aspects of your psoriasis are not being considered, especially those related to the psycho-social aspect of the illness, you can go here and look for a psychodermatology specialist in your area.

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she's authored.