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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 74  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 594--599

Role of stressful life events in induction or exacerbation of psoriasis and chronic urticaria

Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, GGS Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot (Punjab), India

Correspondence Address:
S K Malhotra
SMO House No. 3, Mental Hospital Campus, Amritsar, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.45100

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Background: The possibility of a causal influence of emotional stress, especially of stressful life events, on the course of various skin diseases has long been postulated. Previous reports addressing its influence on skin psoriasis and chronic urticaria have been mainly anecdotal. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the stressful events of life within 1 year preceding onset or exacerbation of skin disease in patients of psoriasis vulgaris and chronic urticaria. Method: Fifty consecutive clinically diagnosed psoriasis patients and 50 consecutive clinically diagnosed chronic urticaria patients were examined clinically and administered Gurmeet Singh's presumptive stressful life events scale. Results: Stressful life events were seen in 26% of the patients in the psoriasis vulgaris group and 16% of the patients in the chronic urticaria group within 1 year preceding onset or exacerbation of skin disease. In the psoriasis vulgaris group, the most common stressful life event seen was financial loss or problems (8%), followed by death of close family member (4%), sexual problems (4%), family conflict (2%), major personal illness or injury (2%),and transfer or change in working conditions (2%), failure in examinations (2%), family member unemployed (2%), illness of family member (2%), getting married or engaged (2%), miscellaneous (2%). In the chronic urticaria group, the most common stressful life event seen was death of a close family member (6%), followed by family conflict (2%), financial loss or problems (2%), sexual problems (2%), illness of family member (2%), getting married or engaged (2%), trouble at work with colleagues, superiors, or subordinates (2%), going on a pleasure trip (2%) and extramarital relations (2%). Conclusion: Psychological stress plays a significant role in triggering or exacerbating dermatological diseases. Our study indicates the role of relaxation therapies and stress management programs in chronic diseases such as psoriasis and chronic urticaria. Psychological interventions can help individuals to reinterpret events and develop strategies to cope with stressful events, thus decreasing morbidity due to these diseases.


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Online since 15th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow