Psoriasis is not your average autoimmune disease. Its visible symptoms, like scalp plaques and scaly skin patches—can make you self-conscious, and take a social and emotional toll. Staying on top of your treatment plan can help keep psoriasis flare-ups at bay—and, in turn, boost your self-confidence and quality of life. Connecting with others living with psoriasis, who understand what you’re going through, and who can share tips and advice for how to thrive with the condition, can also work wonders.
“We often overlook social support as an aspect of health,” says Julie Shafer, PhD, a clinical psychologist based in Portland, Oregon. “But feeling lonely or alone is really detrimental and a major contributor to how severe illnesses are.”
Simply put, human beings are social by nature. “We have this innate need to feel seen and understood by others,” explains Dr. Shafer. “Everyone needs a good support system—like friends and family—to feel supported overall. But someone with a chronic illness really benefits from connecting with other people who understand their condition in a way that can only be understood by someone else who is also living with it.”