Half of all adults with eczema experience anxiety or depression

Fifty per cent of adults with eczema have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression in the past 12 months, or show signs of these mental health problems, according to new research in the British Journal of Dermatology.

The research, carried out by dermatologists and allergists in the US, also found the severity of eczema symptoms to be strongly linked to the risk of anxiety and depression. The study included 2,893 adults, 602 of whom had eczema. Participants completed an online survey which was designed to reveal the severity of their eczema if they had the condition and the state of their mental wellbeing.

Mental health assessment was completed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), which showed eczema was associated with a significantly higher chance of experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Borderline or abnormal scores for anxiety, depression and for both anxiety and depression were reported in 48.4%, 34.5% and 26.6% of adults with eczema, respectively.

Holly Barber of the British Association of Dermatologists said, “There is a strong link between our skin and our mental health. This study confirms the need to ensure mental health services are accessible to patients with skin conditions, and where possible integrate mental and physical care at the earliest opportunity.

“Unfortunately, few dermatology departments currently have the resources to consistently apply this approach, to achieve this will require more investment. Those who feel that the level of mental health support they are getting is inadequate should discuss this with their dermatologist or GP.”