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PubMed RSS Feed - -Dermatological patients with itch report more stress, stigmatization experience, anxiety and depression compared to patients without itch: Results from a European multi-centre study


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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2024 Mar 12. doi: 10.1111/jdv.19913. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Itch as the most common symptom in dermatology has been shown to be related to psychological factors such as stress, anxiety and depression. Moreover, associations were found between perceived stigmatization and itch. However, studies investigating the differences between patients with dermatoses with and without itch regarding perceived stress, stigmatization, anxiety and depression are missing. Therefore, one of the aims of the second study of the European Society for Dermatology and Psychiatry (ESDaP study II) was to investigate these relationships in a large cohort of patients with different itchy dermatoses.

RESULTS: 3399 patients with 14 different itchy dermatoses were recruited at 22 centres in 17 European countries. They filled in questionnaires to assess perceived stigmatization, stress, signs of clinically relevant anxiety or depression, itch-related quality of life, the overall health status, itch duration, frequency and intensity. The most significant association between the severity of itching and the perception of stress was observed among individuals with rosacea (correlation coefficient r = 0.314). Similarly, the strongest links between itch intensity and experiences of stigmatization, anxiety, and depression were found in patients with seborrheic dermatitis (correlation coefficients r = 0.317, r = 0.356, and r = 0.400, respectively). Utilizing a stepwise linear regression analysis, it was determined that within the entire patient cohort, 9.3% of the variation in itch intensity could be accounted for by factors including gender, levels of anxiety, depression, and perceived stigmatization. Females and individuals with elevated anxiety, depression, and perceived stigmatization scores reported more pronounced itch intensities compared to those with contrary attributes.

CONCLUSION: This study underscores the connection between experiencing itch and its intensity and the psychological strain it places on individuals. Consequently, psychological interventions should encompass both addressing the itch itself and the interconnected psychological factors. In specific cases, it becomes imperative for dermatologists to direct individuals towards suitable healthcare resources to undergo further psychological assessment.

PMID:38468596 | DOI:10.1111/jdv.19913

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