Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease characterized by patches of abnormal skin which mostly affects adults but sometimes also children.

16.5% of psoriasis patients had major depression

Patients are at risk for a number of psychiatric conditions, including anxiety, substance abuse and, arguably, depression.

A number of studies have linked depression and psoriasis, suggesting that depression can exacerbate or trigger psoriasis, and vice versa. Some researchers have claimed that the level of depression is consistent with the amount of psoriasis, while others have found no link between psoriasis and depression. Clearly more research is needed.

In the current study, Dr. Roger S. Ho, of the New York University School of Medicine, NY, and co-authors set out to investigate the association between psoriasis and major depression in the US population.

The authors analyzed data for participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2009 through 2012. Diagnosis of major depression was based on a health questionnaire.

They adjusted for cardiovascular risk because prior research has suggested both depression and psoriasis are associated with cardiovascular disease.

Authors identified 351 (2.8%) cases of psoriasis and 968 (7.8%) cases of major depression among 12,382 US residents.

Of these, 58 (16.5%) met the criteria for a diagnosis of major depression. The average patient questionnaire score was higher among patients with a history of psoriasis than those without, according to the results.  

Further analyses suggested the risk of major depression did not depend on the extent of the psoriasis, nor did a history of cardiovascular events affect the risk of major depression for patients with psoriasis.

Psoriasis, risk of depression in the U.S. population, Branden E. Cohen et al., JAMA Dermatology, doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.3605, published online 30 September 2015

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