It will give you an excellent overview of how your immune system copes under stress, and then how stress affects your immune system and causes your psoriasis to go out of control. Stress has been proved to be one of the most important of the influencing factors in the development of psoriasis.
Many With Psoriasis Are Stressed Individuals
Research has shown that between 37 to 78 percent of patients admit that stress affects the condition of their skin. In addition to stress from other factors, psoriasis itself is a stressor due to the abnormal skin conditions; patients experience low self-esteem and feel depressed. This further adds to their internal stress levels.
I’ve found that the kind of chronic psoriasis patients who come to us for help appear to be continually in a state of sickness, often with a poor immune system, are those people who have a tendency to suffer from long-term and low-grade continual stress. I call them the walking wounded, they are not necessarily “sick”, but they never seem to have abundant energy, they hardly ever seem to smile or fully embrace life.
They don’t appear to enjoy life much and see it as some sort of drudgery they have to go through, and many such folk are not really happy with the quality of their lives or rather what has become of it. The thing with stress and poor immunity underlying psoriasis is that it can affect so many systems of the body and create dysfunction across the board that it truly is a systemic problem for many, is it any wonder a person with psoriasis can potentially feel terrible, and so do the people around him or her? I’ve known many sick psoriasis patients who can even be considered “social lepers”, they go nowhere, can’t eat out, have minimal friends and can feel like an outcast. They become stressed, and it is this chronic state of stress that will ensure they don’t recover anytime soon.
Among adults, job and financial worries are often among the leading contributors to stress, but increased crime, violence, peer pressure leading to substance abuse (alcohol and drugs like ecstasy, cannabis and methamphetamine), social isolation, loneliness, and family problems can also create stress-related problems. Stress is not only creating problems with adults, but is increasingly causing health problems among children, teenagers and especially the elderly.
When I grew up in the 60’s, stress didn’t seem to be the buzz word that it is today. Sure people did drugs, but nothing like the drugs of today; alcohol was a problem – now alcohol related problems like domestic violence and automobile accidents are quite chronic and regular daily events that take up half of all police time. Sure there was violence, but nothing like it is today, now we accept violence on television and the movies, and computer games and even children’s cartoons often contain an element of violence. Growing up in the 60’s certainly didn’t involve terror attacks. Bad language is now virtually the norm on TV, and explicit sexual references are what often sell music these days.
The 21st Century Is The Century Of Stress
Remember the 1950’s when children could safely walk to school and high-school massacres were unheard of? In the 21st century, it seems that we have become an increasingly violent, hurried, stressed, time poor, worried, politically correct and sick society. Baby boomers today are more prone to stress related illness like diabetes, heart disease and cancer than their forebears, the silent generation, were. It is your immune system that is particularly affected by chronic low-grade stress, and it is the walking wounded as patients we see in the clinic on a daily basis.
We see patients with all manner of disease due to a compromised immune system like recurrent cough and colds, skin infections, recurrent allergies, autoimmune diseases and many different types of cancers.
As I mentioned earlier that we see a certain group of patients who always “always sick” or who are chronically fatigued from the hurry and worry of modern life. Their conventional doctor may label them as being depressed or anxious and prescribe a drug, after all, the test results appear to be fine, it must be in the patient’s head.
When no test results can account for the way a patient with a compromised immune system feels, these are the folks in particular who need to make the necessary lifestyle changes as well as look at their adrenal health before they take any form of prescribed drug-based medications.
A compromised immune system can mean that you could more easily develop leaky gut syndrome, generally found with a digestive bacterial overgrowth or a yeast infection, because your resistance will be lowered and your susceptibility will be increased. All you need now is a prescription for an antibiotic drug to tip the balance and precipitate dysbiosis or SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth), especially if you drink alcohol or have a sugar-laden diet to cope with your stressful life. It is the convergence of several factors which most always account for an increased susceptibility towards psoriasis, but it generally stems from an immune system which was compromised in the first place which will not only ensure the beginning but the continuation of psoriasis, and sometimes indefinitely.
Many Don’t Believe They Have Stress In Their Lives
Most people today associate stress with worry, but stress has a much broader definition to your body. I have always noted that psoriasis patients don’t generally see themselves as living under much stress, or even feeling stressed. Dr. Wilson, the adrenal fatigue expert, once said to me “anybody with a pulse and breathing will suffer with stress in their lives”. I recall telling him that I didn’t feel particularly stressed and his reply was this: “But Eric, you have just told me that you have a wife and four teenagers, you certainly will have lots of stress in your life!”
Any kind of change, whether it is emotional, environmental, illness, hormonal or just pushing yourself too hard, can be stressful to your body. Even positive events, such as getting a promotion at work, winning a sum of money or even taking a vacation can be stressful and can gradually weaken your health before you realise what is happening. If you have recently experienced a change in your sleep patterns, feel fatigued, anxious or a lack of enjoyment for life, or have multiple aches and pains, it is highly likely that you are over-stressed.
I wrote The Psoriasis Program for psoriasis sufferers who are sick and tired of not getting results with natural treatments or for those who are fed up with conventional (drug) based treatments that tend to be either ineffective or too costly. Check it out.