Couples likely to split over psoriasis

Namrata Devikar
Tuesday, 12 February 2019

“Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease and it has no cure. A consistent treatment can help a patient. However, due to the stigma attached to it, there is a lack of awareness among patients or their families,” said Dr Arsiwala.

PUNE: Couples stick together despite one of them suffering a chronic disease or having a prolonged illness. However, proriasis seems to be an exception.

Around 50 to 60 per cent patients suffering from psoriasis do not reveal their condition due to the stigma attached to the disease, said doctors. They said many relationships end as partners decide to walk out after coming to know about psoriasis of another partner.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches. An autoimmune disease is a condition in which immune system mistakenly attacks the body. Though according to the doctors, there is no cure to psoriasis, there are effective treatments that can control it.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Shehnaz Arsiwala, dermatologist, said many patients ended their relationship or suffered after it was revealed that their partner had psoriasis. “Skin patches on hands, legs, neck and faces are visible to everyone. In case of homemakers and working professionals, others can see them,” said Dr Arsiwala.

“Around 50 per cent patients said they do not want to disclose their condition to their family or friends,” added Dr Arsiwala.

She said there is a misconception that others or their children may contract the disease.

“Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease and it has no cure. A consistent treatment can help a patient. However, due to the stigma attached to it, there is a lack of awareness among patients or their families,” said Dr Arsiwala. 

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Monica Bambroo, dermatologist, said recently, a girl came along with her brother to meet the doctor.

“The patients hesitated a lot to speak and then said she was not comfortable to disclose her condition with the rest of the family. Patients, due to fear of rejection, often do not consult a doctor or take treatment in the early stages. Later, when skin patches start showing in visible places, they fear the stigma of their family and society,” said Dr Bambroo.

She said many feel that psoriasis may affect the newborn genetically. “The chances are very low of this to happen. Proper medical help can certainly help the patient,” said Dr Bambroo.

NEED FOR AWARENESS
Doctors said there is a dire need to spread awareness to eliminate the misconception about psoriasis.

“There has to be more awareness to motivate patients to contact a doctor in early stages. As the patients come in later stages, treatment takes longer. It also gets costlier. Hence, more awareness is the need of the hour,” said Dr Arsiwala.  

STIGMA AROUND PSORIASIS
- 66 % psoriasis patients in India have experienced discrimination or humiliation. 
- 30 % people feel that psoriasis has affected their past or current relationships 
- 51 % psoriasis patients avoid having any intimate relations out of the fear of discrimination or people being repulsed by their skin.  
(Source: Global ‘Clear About Psoriasis’ survey)

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