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Survey Finds Depression, Anxiety Common in Patients With Atopic Dermatitis

Mary Caffrey
Sponsors of the survey want to draw attention to the mental health aspects of living with condition, which causes the immune system to overreact.
More than 30% of adults with atopic dermatitis report having a diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety, according to survey results reported Thursday by the National Eczema Association.

The results are based on survey of 545 people with atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema caused by an overactive immune system. People with this condition have a leaky outer layer of skin that allows irritants and allergens to pass through, triggering the immune system and causing inflammation.

The result is an itchy, red rash that can leak fluid and create thickened, cracked skin. It affects about 15 million people in the United States.

These findings indicate the number of people with atopic dermatitis living with depression is 4 times higher than the general population, which is estimated by CDC to be 7.6%.

“Atopic dermatitis is a complex disease, as this survey shows,” Julie Block, president and CEO of the National Eczema Association, said in a statement. “Research reveals this form of eczema goes well beyond what you see on the skin. Chronic inflammation, symptoms such as unbearable itch, being severely allergic to the world around you—these profoundly affect the quality of life for people with AD [atopic dermatitis].”

The group is raising awareness about the mental health effects of atopic dermatitis during the month of October, which is Eczema Awareness Month, Block said. “In honor of Eczema Awareness Month and in recognition of the challenges people with eczema face, we’ve gathered information on our site from experts on mental health and chronic disease,” says Block. “Visitors will find the range of resources to help them understand and manage the emotional ups and downs of eczema.”

To further raise awareness about mental health issues with the condition, the National Eczema Association will be hosting a Facebook Live chat with the Organization for Advancement and Integration in Medical Sciences, or, which encourages multidisciplinary research across medical specialties.

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