EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING

IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS AND MENTAL HEALTH?

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is not only associated with pain, stiffness and tiredness but also takes a toll on emotional well-being. One may get frustrated due to the symptoms, its unpredictable nature and the fact that it is harder to perform simple everyday jobs. Nonetheless, these emotions can be dealt with in a positive manner.


Effects of psoriatic arthritis related stress

Headaches

Low energy

Muscle pain

Stomach ache and acid reflux

Trouble sleeping

Increased breathing

Teeth grinding

Increased heart rate

With PsA, the stress can both worsen and trigger symptoms of the disease. A flare-up can result in increased levels of stress and worsen pain and skin symptoms, which in turn, may add to the stress.
Additionally, constantly worrying about PsA may not allow a person to get the best treatment results.


Chronic stress can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, which in turn can affect ones quality of sleep.Poor sleep can result in tiredness and cause aches in the muscles and joints throughout the body. Furthermore, brain fog,dementia and inflammation are also linked to PsA. The brain fog that many people with PsA experience can result in trouble concentrating and memory loss (which can also be linked to depression).


A study found that the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) was slightly higher in people with psoriasis and other untreated immune disorders like PsA. But the good news is that those undergoing treatment have a reduced risk of developing AD.


What is the reason behind mental health disorders in psoriatic arthritis?

Swelling that stays for a long time i.e., inflammation, may be at the root of PsA mental health issues. The inflammation produces an undesirable response in different parts of the body, including the brain, leading to augmented stress, more depression and anxiety,brain fog, and possibly dementia. However, this is something researchers are still studying.


MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING CHECK-LIST

The K10 checklist is a simple measure of your psychological health. It uses a series of questions to rate certain aspects of your wellbeing, with results showing whether negative feelings, thoughts or emotions have affected your daily life.

This test should only take a few minutes to complete. It is important to be as truthful as you can. It is extremely common for anxiety and depression to co-exist with inflammatory disorders, but the good news is there are treatment and support options that can help.



In the past 4 weeks: None of
the time
A little of
the time
Some of
the time
Most of
the time
All of
the time
1. About how often did you feel tired out for no good reason?
2. About how often did you feel nervous?
3. About how often did you feel so nervous that nothing could calm you down?
4. About how often did you feel hopeless?
5. About how often did you feel restless or fidgety?
6. About how often did you feel so restless you could not sit still?
7. About how often did you feel depressed?
8. About how often did you feel that everything was an effort?
9. About how often did you feel so sad that nothing could cheer you up?
10. About how often did you feel worthless?

Acknowledgement: “Professor Ronald C Kessler of the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School is thanked for the use of research on the K10 funded by US Public Health Service Grants RO1 MH46376, R01 MH52861, RO1 MH49098, and K05 MH00507 and by the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation Network on Successful Midlife Development (Gilbert Brim, Director).”

HOW TO COPE WITH STRESS?

How to manage the emotional impact of psoriatic arthritis?

While there might not be a cure for PsA, it can be handled optimistically. Here are some tips to take control and live well with PsA:

Relieve stress and anxiety

In order to relieve stress, take some time out to do something enjoyable every day. Even if it is something small like making a cup of herbal tea, or enjoying some “me time" after waking up or before bedtime.

Stay connected

When a person has been living with PsA for a long time, it is common to feel isolated and aloof. Taking steps to address these feelings is important. Seeking comfort and support from family and friends, and talking to them about some of these feelings can often reduce the emotional pain felt when living with PsA. Their support can make keeping up with treatments easier

Those with a good social circle, including a partner, a close-knit family, a network of friends and connections live longer and have better health. So, it is advisable to get in touch with friends and family and reach out for support while living with PsA.



Treating depression

One might feel unhappy when affected with PsA. People with depression may feel9:

Sadness

Irritability and anger

Guilt or worthlessness

No interest or pleasure in things they used to enjoy before


Other common signs include:

Trouble sleeping

Trouble in staying focused, making decisions, or remembering

Social isolation(staying at home and avoiding friends)

Headaches or stomach aches

Fatigue

Mood swings

Weight loss or gain


Depression can be treated with medicines. Therapy can help in working through troubles. Even activities like exercising and socialising can help.
Deep feelings of depression or sadness often require a professional's support and care. Talk to a doctor if these feelings persist.


Take action


Talk to a doctor or a mental health professional.

Counselling can help change negative thinking patterns, help with strategising and building skills to become emotionally stronger.

Staying physically active and exercising also improves mood, and it is known to be good for the joints. If activities like walking are difficult to perform, consider walking in the pool. The water supports the weight without impacting the joints.

Consider yoga and tai chi too. Such gentle meditative practices help a person find a sense of centred calm and provide flexibility. Even mind and body practices like progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises,etc. may help relieve stress. Such techniques may help control the body's reaction to stress and improve heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and in turn help manage the pain.

How to cope with emotional effects of PsA?

Meditate

Get enough sleep

Find a creative hobby

Exercise daily

Go outside

Eat healthy

Avoid caffeine and alcohol

Be active in the community

Talk to someone