Many people with eczema notice a significant worsening of their eczema symptoms when they are experiencing stressful situations in their lives. Likewise, living with eczema can be a source of stress itself, creating a cycle that leads to frequent flare-ups. Stress management is an important tool for those with eczema.
What does it involve?
There are many different approaches to stress management. You can try different methods until you find one that works for you.
Deep breathing is a simple technique you can do anywhere to help relieve stress.
Exercise can be a very effective way to manage stress in addition to providing other health benefits. Any type of exercise can reduce stress, including walking. Choose an activity you enjoy and can regularly do. Tai chi and yoga are ancient forms of exercise that involve moving your body gently into a variety of poses. Many people find them especially effective at reducing stress. You can do tai chi or yoga at home while watching DVDs or online videos that guide you through the poses. If you prefer, you can join a class to incorporate social aspects.
Some people find meditation to be useful in managing stress. You can meditate sitting, lying down, or walking. One popular form of meditation called mindfulness involves focusing on your breathing and accepting the present moment without judging it as good or bad. You can meditate at home on your own or in a class. Some people meditate silently, while others prefer to listen to live or recorded guidance. Prayer may help reduce stress in similar ways.
Massage can help promote relaxation and reduce stress. Try to choose a massage therapist who has worked with people who have eczema.
Maintaining a strong social support network can help reduce stress. Make time to meet friends and family or keep in touch over the phone. Online social networks are also a good way to keep connected and get support.
If you experience feelings of intense depression or anxiety, consider seeking treatment with a mental health therapist. A therapist can help you navigate through stressful situations and find better ways of handling your emotions. When choosing a therapist, try to find one who has experience working with people who have eczema.
For those whose eczema flares are strongly linked with stress and anxiety, it may be worthwhile to consider trying drug therapy such as antidepressants or antianxiety medication. If you think you might benefit from medication, ask your doctor about options.
Managing your stress levels may help improve eczema symptoms, shorten the length of flare-ups, and prevent additional flare-ups.
Small studies on itch in atopic dermatitis have shown that stress is strongly related to itching, and that improving stress management can decrease stress hormone levels and itching.
Exercise can be uncomfortable or embarrassing for some people with eczema.
Some health insurance plans do not pay for psychological therapy, or only pay for a limited number of sessions.
Massage therapy can be expensive.
It may be difficult to find time for meditation or prayer.
Some antidepressants can cause inconvenient side effects such as weight gain, sleepiness, and sexual dysfunction. Some antianxiety medications can be addictive.
Fore more information, visit:
Psychophysiological Effects of Stress Management in Patients with Atopic Dermatitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial – Ingenta
Coping as mediator of the relationship between stress and itch in patients with atopic dermatitis: a regression and mediation analysis – Wiley Online Library
Management Tips – American Stress Institute
Five tips to help manage stress – American Psychological Association
Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress – Mayo Clinic