Eczema is much more than dry, itchy and confidence-deflating skin. It can have a huge impact on a person’s emotional and physical well-being. Eczema is usually diagnosed by the age of two, and 80% of those children will go on to develop hay fever, asthma or both, according to the National Eczema Association for Science and Education.
Ted A. Grossbart, PhD, says that, “Recent studies tell us that between 30 and 60 percent of all people who seek medical attention for a skin problem experience significant underlying psychological turmoil. This is critically important because emotional problems can keep even the most sophisticated medical treatment from working.” Asthma and allergies are also known to be worsened by frustration, anger, isolation, sadness, and other stressful emotions.
Dr. Grossbart makes an important point about the complex interrelationship between mind and body. “The Itch-Scratch Cycle that is responsible for so much misery is also very fertile ground for psychodermatology. Emotional factors can cause, and frequently heighten, itching and scratching. Psychological techniques can be vital tools for breaking the cycle.”
Simply understanding that there may be a link between how you feel and the health of your skin can be the first step in exploring your own emotional-physical connections, and better managing eczema.
Ted A. Grossbart, PhD, is the author of SKIN DEEP: AMind/Body Program for Healthy Skin. His site provides a wide range of multimedia psychodermatology resources.
Also refer to the National EczemaAssociation site for more information and resources.