What Is the Emotional Impact of HS?
The effects of the inflammatory condition hidradenitis suppurativa are way more than skin deep.
Dealing with HS can be difficult, not just on a physical level, but also psychologically. Christopher Sayed, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explains how hidradenitis supprativa (HS) affects patients emotionally.
I think the emotional burden that goes along with HS is probably one of the hardest things to deal with. There are plenty of studies that show that conditions like depression and anxiety are highly linked to HS. There have been some reports of suicidal attempts and rates of suicide being higher in HS patients. I think perhaps the disease can be blamed for some of that, just in terms of it being a heavy burden for people to live with sometimes, especially if they don't feel like they can get the care they need for it.
There is no doubt in my mind that HS leads to a lot of social isolation for some patients, where patients shy away from friendly social relationships and romantic social relationships out of the worry that they're going to have to explain this condition to other people who have no idea what it is. That is something that also is a major emotional burden for patients.
I think we try to do our best to support patients when we can. I'm always happy to try to help patients find people in terms of psychologists or psychiatrists that can help them with that aspect of the disease. It can be difficult for patients to see me plus another specialist, so it may be hard sometimes for patients to work that in.