A new study has found that a majority of family members and caregivers of children with atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, suffer from anxiety and depression.
For the study, researchers from the PHI University Clinic of Dermatology assessed the impact of an atopic dermatitis diagnosis on the families of 35 children between the ages of 1 and 6. The researchers, who evaluated 83 family members and caregivers, found that all of them reported at least mild severity anxiety, with some showing moderate severity anxiety. Almost three in four — 74 percent — were also found to have depression.
According to the study’s findings, depression and anxiety scores were associated with the persistence and longevity of atopic dermatitis.
The researchers noted they did not find an association between scores and the severity of the disease, meaning that depression or anxiety was not observed to increase where atopic dermatitis was more severe.
Atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, affects between 10 and 20 percent of the pediatric population of Europe. It causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry, and cracked. It is a chronic condition that most often occurs in people who have allergies and can develop alongside asthma and hay fever.
Patients with the condition are also known to suffer insomnia, anxiety, and psychosocial stress, linked to the physical manifestation of their eczema, according to the researchers.
For the study, researchers used the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and Hamilton Anxiety Rating scale (HAM-A).
The researchers also asked participants what their greatest concerns were. The most frequent worry was the information families and caregivers receive about the nature of the disease, since atopic dermatitis is a long-term condition that requires complex and costly medical treatments.
“The chronicity and complexity of chronic dermatitis often leads to overlooked anxiety and depression in family members and caregivers, but our results show the extent of this cannot be overstated,” said lead researcher Dr. Vesna Grivcheva-Panovska.
“In the future, we must take a widened approach to the management of atopic dermatitis, not only of the patients but of their families as well.”
The research was presented at the 2019 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) Congress.
Source: Spink Health