University of São Paulo: Atopic dermatitis causes important emotional and neuropsychiatric impacts

The Atopic dermatitis is a non-contagious disease that causes inflammation of the skin, leading to the appearance of lesions, intense itching, in addition to leaving the skin extremely dry and scaly. The combination of these factors modifies several aspects of the life of the person with dermatitis, whether in the choice of clothes, night’s sleep – impaired because of intense itching – and even in social relationships, which generates negative impacts on the quality of life of patients.

For the allergist and professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto (FMRP) at USP, Luisa Karla de Paula Arruda, these changes may contribute to the appearance of other problems, initially unrelated to the disease. Sleepless nights, for example, cause tiredness, inattention, irritability and other mood swings. Because of the visible wounds, these people are also victims of discrimination, having problems with relationships and with self-esteem.

Karla explains that the more severe the disease, the more intense these symptoms are, so it is necessary to carry out the correct treatment, analyzing each case individually. The treatment will “try to reduce the intensity and frequency of symptoms, and this, consequently, will lead to the improvement of these emotional aspects that are so important in the life of the patient with atopic dermatitis”, says the allergist.

The psychologist from the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP) at USP, Maria Fernanda Laus, highlights the reception and support network (family, friends and co-workers) as important supports to mitigate the impacts of the disease. in mental health. “It is important for the patient to have a support network with family, friends, co-workers and other significant people that provide a welcoming environment, that avoid conversations about bodies and physical appearance, that provide emotional and social support for the patient to have the sense of belonging.”

Although the support network is necessary, care with the specialist should be prioritized. Seeing an allergist or dermatologist for the treatment of atopic dermatitis and a mental health psychologist ensures optimal treatment. “Today we have several treatment strategies. In this way, we are able to bring to the patient with atopic dermatitis a normal life, their well-being, their quality of life and the prospect of success in their professional and personal life. This is all possible for the vast majority of patients”, concludes Luisa Karla.

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