Finding Emotional Health With Psoriatic Arthritisby Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer
Psoriatic arthritis can create a range of emotions. These emotions are a necessary and important part of our survival. They can help us make necessary adjustments to our lifestyle and level of care. Read ahead to learn more about some of the emotions you may be feeling and how to make your emotions work for you.
The systemic inflammation that accompanies psoriatic arthritis can also be a trigger for depression. People with psoriatic disease are at a 39 percent increased risk of depression than those without the disease. If you are feeling symptoms of depression such as a change in your sleep or appetite, or not enjoying the things you usually enjoy, it is extremely important that you talk to your doctor. Depression is treatable and it may be a signal to your physician that your psoriatic arthritis is being under treated.
Unfortunately, psoriatic disease can cause negative body image and social avoidance. If you are feeling anxious, it may take a team approach to help you appreciate your body and see yourself in a more positive light. Your dermatologist may be able to recommend a professional who is skilled in this area.
Last July marked my worse psoriatic arthritis flare to date. My little toe swelled to the point that it would not fit into my shoes. My right knee seemed to suddenly stop working. However, the pain in my toe and knee did not compare to the pain of the fear that I was feeling. As a result of my fear, I increased my medication, exercised more, and reduced the time between my rheumatology appointments. If handled appropriately, fear can be one of our greatest sources of personal improvement.
If you are the only one in your family who is experiencing chronic pain, it is completely natural that you may feel envious of their health. Sometimes these feelings emerge when you are feeling the most burdened by your psoriatic disease. Envy can help you pay attention to the condition you are striving for. However, envy can also cause you to act negatively toward others. Being grateful for what you have can help you feel the more positive effects of envy according to Frontiers in Psychology.
Not surprisingly, anger goes hand in hand with chronic conditions. Psoriatic arthritis can be particularly painful and difficult to manage, creating feelings of anger toward the situation. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, one of the best ways to overcome anger is to find a sense of control. You may begin to feel an increase in your personal power by more tightly managing your condition or communicating your needs more clearly to others.
When we think of apathy, we often think of fatigue or lack of motivation. Apathy related to psoriatic arthritis can be particularly difficult because fatigue is one of the physical signs of psoriatic arthritis. Apathy can also be an indication of an increase in stress. If you are feeling apathetic for more than a day or two, it is important to speak to your health care provider to make sure that your disease is being treated as well as possible.
Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis can take a long time. In one study, only 30 percent of patients were diagnosed within six months of the onset of symptoms, while 70 percent had up to a two-year delay in a diagnosis. Finding the right treatment can also take time. It is not surprising that you may feel frustrated. However, while there is no cure, there is treatment for our condition. Working closely with your healthcare provider can help you reach remission more quickly and reduce your frustration.
Grief is your reaction to loss. With psoriatic arthritis, you may grieve the loss of being pain free, or facing a new reality that you need to take medication every day. Because psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition, your losses may change over time, which means your grief may keep coming. It is important to accept what you feel. Each person grieves in their own way. If you feel like grief is impacting your ability to function, it is important to let your doctor know how you are feeling.
Stress and inflammatory diseases are linked. When your body is under stress, it can put the immune system into response mode and release inflammatory proteins. Researchers have found that between 37 and 71 percent of people with psoriasis report their disease gets worse with stress. Learning to manage your stress is not always easy but it is necessary. Cardiovascular exercise, talk therapy, and meditation are all examples of things that can help you lower your stress levels.
Feeling hopeful is important if you are living with psoriatic arthritis. There is research that those with chronic disease who have greater optimism and hope engage in healthier behaviors and this contributes to more successful treatment. Another reason to feel hopeful is that the science related to psoriatic arthritis is evolving quickly. Many with psoriatic arthritis are now seeing significant improvement in their condition thanks to more targeted therapies.