PSORIASIS and CHEMICAL EXPOSURE to POLLUTION

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Human beings are continuously exposed to environmental pollutants. Because of its critical location, the skin is a major interface between the body and the environment and provides a biological barrier against an array of chemical and physical environmental pollutants. The skin can be defined as our first defense against the environment because of its constant exposure to oxidants, including ultraviolet (UV) radiation and other environmental pollutants such as diesel fuel exhaust, cigarette smoke (CS), halogenated hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and ozone (O3). The exposure to environmental pro-oxidant agents leads to the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the generation of bioactive molecules that can damage skin cells.1

 The skin is a potential target for oxidative injury, as it is continuously exposed to UV radiation and other environmental stresses generating reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS mediated oxidative damage involves a vast number of biological molecules since it causes lipid peroxidation, DNA modification, and secretion of inflammatory cytokines.2 ROS induced oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids results in the metabolization of the lipid peroxidation into malondialdehyde (MDA). Lipids are structural components of cell membranes, critical in the formation of the permeability barrier of cells, whilst MDA is used as a biomarker of lipid peroxidation.2,3

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Alterations that disturb the skin barrier function in either stratum corneum lipid metabolism or protein components of the corneocytes are involved in the development of various mild or severe skin diseases, including erythema, oedema, hyperplasia, “sunburn cell” formation, skin aging, contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and skin cancers.1

The mechanism by which environmental insults exert a detrimental effect the skin barrier function is through the generation of oxidative stress, which overwhelms the skin’s defenses by quickly depleting the enzymatic (glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase, catalase) and nonenzymatic (vitamin E, vitamin C, and glutathione) antioxidant capacity, thus leading to deleterious effects.1 The enzymes, including glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) decrease the concentration of the most harmful oxidants, hence an inadequate antioxidant protection or excess ROS production generates oxidative stress and contributes to the development of cutaneous diseases and disorders.

Increased capacity for chemotaxis (the directional movement of cells in response to chemical stimuli), adhesion (the interaction of a cell with a neighbouring cell or with the underlying extracellular matrix, via specialized multi-protein adhesive structures) and increased ROS production in neutrophils, keratinocytes and fibroblasts of the skin matrix, have been reported in patients with psoriasis. Research results have shown that increased oxidative stress in these patients, as demonstrated by the high plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and compromised levels of the antioxidant defense enzymes, have been observed even at the time of diagnosis itself. Other reports have suggested that, fibroblasts in the lesion-free skin of psoriasis patients have shown signs of increased oxidative damage even before the formation of the characteristic psoriatic plaque/lesions which may indicate the involvement of abnormal immune reactions leading to the onset of the disease.2

Sun UV rays, Ozone (O3 – the primary constituent of smog), cigarette smoke (CS) exposure, and pollutants, in addition to the natural process of aging, contribute to the generation of free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that interact with lipid-rich plasma membrane and initiate the so-called lipid peroxidation reaction cascade. The progressive depletion of antioxidant content in the stratum corneum leads to the cascade of effects which result in an active cellular response in the deepest layers of the skin. ROS is known to stimulate the release of pro-inflammatory mediators from a variety of skin cells. Skin inflammation, in turn, leads to skin infiltration by activated neutrophils and other phagocytic cells that generate further free radicals (both reactive oxygen and nitrogen species), thus establishing a vicious circle.1

 There is no doubt that the skin is continuously and simultaneously exposed to several oxidative stressors, and these can have additive, if not synergistic, effects. Whilst UV ray therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for psoriasis and there is certainly anecdotal information that indicates sun exposure also improves psoriatic lesions, there has been little or no research on the effects of combined UV and O3 on the inducement and or exacerbation of psoriasis.  While environmental UV radiation penetrates into the epidermis (UV-B) or into the dermis (UV-A) and is known to induce the release of tissue-degrading enzymes, O3 oxidizes biological systems only at the surface. Therefore, because O3 and UV cooperatively damage subcutaneous (SC) components they exert an additive effect in cutaneous tissues. Research results have suggested that UV irradiation has been shown to compromise the skin barrier and simultaneous exposure to O3 may enhance this phenomenon by perturbing SC lipid constituents that are known to be critical determinants of the barrier function. It has been proposed that the by-products of O3-induced lipid oxidation penetrate the outer skin barrier and cause effects on constituents of the deeper epidermis that can lead to activation of transcription factors, such as Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-?B), which regulates a variety of proinflammatory cytokines. NF-?B is a protein transcription factor that orchestrates inflammation and other complex biological processes. It is a key regulatory element in a variety of immune and inflammatory pathways, in cellular proliferation and differentiation and in apoptosis. Therefore NF-?B is a crucial mediator involved in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.1,3,4,6

It has been theorized that responses to air pollutants may be age related, and several recent studies have shown that skin responses to pollutants are modulated by age. The free radical theory of aging is supported by finding that oxidative damage to biomolecules accumulates and increases with age. In aging skin, the process oxidative damage involves not only proteins, lipids and DNA but also is linked with alteration of the collagenous extracellular matrix in the dermis. The extensive research in the aging process of human skin found that levels of MMP-1 increased with age and contributed to fragmentation and disorganization of collagen fibers in the dermis. Researchers have also found that both a contact of fibroblasts with collagen fibers and collagen cross-links of collagen fibers are strongly reduced in aged skin (80% and 75%, respectively). Despite a large body of knowledge a detailed molecular mechanism of the skin aging is not fully recognized.1,5

Further research is required to determine exactly how air pollutants can induce and/or exacerbate psoriasis and other skin conditions. However one theory proposed for the most likely cause is thought to be due to skin injury caused by exposure to the chemical pollutant and the subsequent initiation of the Koebner effect.

See our blog “Koebner Phenomenon”, “Psoriasis and Chemical Exposure” and “Psoriasis and Smoking”

References

  • Valacchi et al.; Cancer Cutaneous responses to environmental stressors ; Annals Of The New York Academy Of Sciences;  Issue: Nutrition and Physical Activity in Aging, Obesity, and Cancer; Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. ISSN 0077-8923; https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Cutaneous-responses-to-environmental-stressors-Acad-Sci/09cdc1c7eda0a59cce84c65631d380a180cc4f1b/pdf
  • Ayala A. et al.; Lipid Peroxidation: Production, Metabolism, and Signaling Mechanisms of Malondialdehyde and 4-Hydroxy-2-Nonenal; Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity Volume 2014, Article ID 360438, 31 pages; file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/marg/My%20Documents/Downloads/360438.pdf
  • Kadam P. et al.; Role of Oxidative Stress in Various Stages of Psoriasis; Ind J Clin Biochem (Oct-Dec 2010) 25(4):388–392; file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/marg/My%20Documents/Downloads/12291_2010_Article_43.pdf
  • Goldminz AM. Et al.; NF-?B: an essential transcription factor in psoriasis.; J Dermatol Sci.2013 Feb;69(2):89-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2012.11.002. Epub 2012 Nov 14.
  • Kruk J., Duchnik E.; Oxidative Stress and Skin Diseases: Possible Role of Physical Activity; Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 15, 2014
  • Burke KE,Wei H.; Synergistic damage by UVA radiation and pollutants.; Toxicol Ind Health May/June 2009 25: (4-5): 219-224

What triggers Psoriasis?

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Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder and whilst the exact causes of psoriasis have yet to be discovered, the immune system and genetics are known to play major roles in its development. The immune system is somehow mistakenly triggered, which speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells among other immune reactions1.

Researchers show that whether a person develops psoriasis or not may depend on a “trigger”2. These Primary Triggers activate the condition.

Possible Primary triggers include:

Koebner Phenomenon Skin Injury e.g. animal bites, burns, electrodesiccation, excoriation, freezing, friction, gunshot wounds, insect bites, lacerations, nail manicuring, Poor fitting shoes, pressure, shaving, surgical grafts, surgical incision, tape stripping, thumb sucking, x-rays, sunburn, tattoos (injury).

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Stress anxiety, depression, psychological illnesses e.g. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Certain medicines e.g.:-pills-1422509 Free Images
Anti-malarial– e.g. Doxycycline, chloroquine
– Lithium– depression or psychiatric disorders
– ACE Inhibitors- High blood pressure medication
– Anti-inflammatory medicine – e.g. ibuprofen or Indomethacin
– Beta blockers – taken by patients with heart failure
– Corticosteroids– Prescribed for a variety of health conditions. Sudden discontinuation of  relatively high   doses can be a trigger.

Infectionsin some people, usually children and young adults, a form of psoriasis called guttate psoriasis develops after a streptococcal throat infection (note: most people who have streptococcal throat infections will not develop psoriasis), upper respiratory infections such as such as streptococcal pharyngitis or sinusitis. People with weakened immune systems; such as HIVpatients, are more susceptible to psoriasis.

There are also a number of Secondary Triggers, and these exacerbate the condition once it has been activated, and will continue to worsen the condition. They are:-

Triggers

  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Chemical exposure 
  • Hormones
  • Weather – exposure to cold
  • Adverse foods 

Not all psoriasis sufferers will react to all of the above triggers, so the best thing to do is to record consumption of foods, liquids etc., how you slept, what stresses you were under and any exposure to chemicals and other environmental triggers and at the same time monitor your symptoms e.g. increases itch, irritability, new lesions or worsening of existing lesions etc. Note that some triggers e.g. skin injuries may not show a flare-up up for up to 10 to 14 days after a triggering event, so if you noticed that you were bitten by mosquitos or insects record it with the date and then take note of any subsequent delayed flare ups.

REFERENCES

  1. Višnja Milavec-Pureti? et al.; Drug Induced Psoriasis; Acta Dermatovenerol Croat 2011;19(1):39-42
  2. Kuchekar A.B. et al.; Psoriasis: A comprehensive review; Int. J. of Pharm. & Life Sci. (IJPLS), Vol. 2, Issue 6: June: 2011, 857-877 857

PSORIASIS and ALCOHOL INTAKE

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The course of psoriasis is chronic and over a period of time the condition may be severe and commonly causes emotional problems, which in themselves may lead to relief drinking.1

Psoriasis Alcohol_1Patients with psoriasis experience considerable emotional distress, depression and social isolation due to the visibility of skin lesions, especially when the lesions are widespread and severe. Whilst it would be demeaning to state that all psoriasis patients with mild to severe psoriasis suffer from alcoholism, it has been confirmed in several Quality of Life studies that the percentage of psoriasis patients who admit to having a drinking problem may be as high as 32%. That said, the association between alcohol consumption and increased risk of psoriasis onset and psoriasis worsening has long been suspected.

Alcohol potentially weakens the immune response making psoriasis patients more susceptible to bacterial infections and injuries, which in turn can trigger and exacerbate psoriasis. Case studies have shown a definite connection between high consumption of alcohol and increased severity of psoriasis. Patients with severe psoriasis who misuse alcohol often show improvement after months of abstention or significant reduction in their alcohol intake. Patients who have abstained, improved and then gone on to have a binge drinking session, also experienced more severe flare-ups of their psoriasis upon resumption of drinking.1,2,3 It has also been shown that high alcohol intake is more problematic in the male population than in women.4

Alcohol_1Interestingly in a study of US women, researchers found that the risk for psoriasis varied according to the amount and type of alcoholic beverage consumed. “Non-light beer was the only alcoholic beverage that increased the risk for psoriasis, suggesting that certain non-alcoholic components of beer, which are not found in wine or liquor, may play an important role in new onset psoriasis. One of these components may be the starch-source used in making beer. Beer is one of the few non-distilled alcoholic beverages that use a starch-source for fermentation, which is commonly barley. This differs from wine that uses a fruit-source (grapes) for fermentation. Some types of liquors such as vodka may use a starch-source for fermentation; however these starches are physically separated from the liquor during distillation. Starch sources such as barley contain gluten, which has been shown to be associated with psoriasis. For example, individuals with psoriasis have elevated levels of anti-gliadin antibodies (AgA) and may have a so called ‘latent-gluten sensitivity’ compared to individuals without psoriasis.” 5

This is not to say that other forms of alcohol are then, by default, safe as vodka and other spirits have been shown to increase the severity of psoriasis in other case studies. Alcohol also in general should not be consumed whilst taking various anti-psoriasis medications such as Methotrexate, Cyclosporine, and Acitretin.6

Alcohol also affects the pituitary gland, resulting in reduced secretions of the anti-diuretic hormone that maintains the body’s proper hydration level. More specifically, the kidneys are no longer able to reabsorb sufficient water from your urine, and your body ends up eliminating more water than it absorbs and the person becomes dehydrated. The symptoms of dehydration are fatigue, back and neck pain, increase itch and headaches.

There is still some controversy over safe levels of intake e.g. low and moderate, however, it is still considered prudent to restrict intake whilst on medication. It is certainly recommended for psoriasis patients to reduce or totally restrict alcohol intake, regardless of type, whilst their psoriasis is in a flare up. And when in remission to only consume low to moderate levels of alcohol. All forms of binge drinking should be abstained from.

f you are using alcohol as a crutch to cope with your emotional distress, general stress with work etc. or depression then please seek medical assistance. Also read our blog on “Psoriasis and Water Intake”, “Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Psoriasis” and “Stressed about Psoriasis – Identify Your Stressors and Yours Stress Responses”. Identifying and understanding your stress triggers and finding other ways to cope with your stress and anxiety can help you cut back on your alcohol intake.

REFERENCES

  1. Poikolainen K. Et Al.; Alcohol Intake: A Risk Factor For Psoriasis In Young And Middle Aged Men? ; Bmj Volume 300 24 March 1990
  2. Iva Dediol, Marija Buljan, Danijel Buljan, Vedrana Bulat, Maja Vurnek Živkovi? & Mirna Šitum: Association Of Psoriasis And Alcoholism: Psychodermatological Issue Psychiatria Danubina, 2009; Vol. 21, No. 1, Pp 9–13
  3. Captain G E Vincenti and Dr S M Blunden; Psoriasis and Alcohol Abuse; JR Army Med Corps 1987; 133: 77-78
  4. Zimmerman GM. Alcohol and Psoriasis: A Double Burden.Arch Dermatol.1999;135(12):1541-1542. doi:10.1001/archderm.135.12.1541.
  5. Qureshi AA, Dominguez PL, Choi HK, et al. Alcohol intake and risk of incident psoriasis in US women: a prospective study. Arch Dermatol146(12):1364–9 (2010 Dec).
  6. Vena GA. et al.;The effects of alcohol on the metabolism and toxicology of anti-psoriasis drugs.; Expert Opin. Drug Metab Toxicol. 2012 Aug;8(8):959-72. doi: 10.1517/17425255.2012.691166. Epub 2012 May 17.

 

PSORIASIS – the Relationship with Drugs

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Cutaneous drug eruptions are one of the most common types of adverse reaction to drug therapy, with an overall incidence rate of 2–3% in hospitalized patients. Almost any medicine can induce skin reactions, and certain drug classes, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics and anti-epileptics have drug eruption rates approaching 1–5%.1

Drug Relationship

Psoriasis & Drugs

Drug ingestion may result in several different responses:-

  1. a) Drugs may trigger the condition in a Patient who is genetically predisposed to psoriasis.
  2. b) Drugs may trigger the condition “de novo”, in a Patient non–predisposed.
  3. c) Drugs may exacerbate existing psoriatic lesions in a Patient.
  4. d) Drugs may trigger a psoriatic flare up in “clinically normal” skin in patients with psoriatic 2

In view of their relationship to psoriasis, therapeutic agents may be classified as follows:

(1)     Drugs with strong reported case evidence for a causal relationship to psoriasis including lithium, beta blockers, and synthetic antimalarial drugs;

(2)     Drugs with a considerable number of studies but insufficient data to support induction  or aggravation of the disease;

(3)     Drugs occasionally reported to be associated with aggravation or induction. 2.3

Drug-provoked psoriasis can be divided into two categories:-

1]       Drug-INDUCED psoriasis – where discontinuation of the causative drug stops the further progression of the disease. This form tends to occur in a “de novo” fashion in patients with no family or previous history of psoriasis. The clinical presentation of   these lesions  may often mimic the pustular variant of psoriasis, often with no nail involvement or associated arthritis. 2

2]       Drug-AGGRAVATED psoriasis – where the disease progresses even after the discontinuation of the offending drug and usually occur in patients with a history of  psoriasis or with a genetic predisposition for the disease. Patients can have exacerbation of pre-existing psoriatic lesions or develop new lesions in previously   uninvolved skin. Histological examination reveals features that are more characteristicof psoriasis vulgaris. 2

These two reactions are not to be confused with “Psoriasiform drug eruption”. This is a broad term that refers to a group of disorders that clinically and/or histologically simulate psoriasis at some point during the course of the disease. This type of eruption is usually associated with seborrheic dermatitis, pityriasis rubra pilaris, secondary syphilis, pityriasis rosea, mycosis fungoides, and some malignancies. 2

Some Drugs that Trigger or Exacerbates Psoriasis

Although a several drugs have been implicated in provoking psoriasis, the strongest evidence is for lithium, beta-blockers, anti-malarials, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and tetracyclines. In addition, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, interferons, digoxin, clonidine, carbamazepine, valproic acid, calcium-channel blockers, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor, potassium iodide, ampicillin, penicillin, progesterone, morphine and acetazolamide have been reported to exacerbate psoriasis. 4

 DRUG  Mechanism of Action Comments
 Beta-blockers  A delayed type hypersensitivity reaction, an immune mediated response and a decrease in intraepidermal cAMP and a consequent increase in peidermal cell turnover Both cardioselective and non-cardioselective drugs have been implicated but the frequency is higher with the latter.

Also with topical timolol, reported to induce psoriasis and to transform psoriasis vulgaris (Plaque) into psoriatic erythroderma.

 Lithium       Acts directly by blocking cell differentiation and leading to dysregulation of inflammatory cytokines and indirectly by decreasing cAMP levels Provokes or induces chronic plaque psoriasis, localized or gnerealized pustular psoriasis and even psoriatic erythroderma.
 Antimalarials  May trigger psoriasis by inhibiting the enzyme transglutaminase Does not induce psoriasis although they are known to trigger psoriasis in 18% of patients.
 NSAIDs  Inhibits the cyclo-oxygenase pathway, leading to accumulation of leukotrienes and hence may exacerbate psoriasis  
 Tetracyclines  May provoke psoriasis either by inhibiting cAMP or by inducing Koebner’s phenomenon due to their photosensitizing potential  

It is important for the patient to supply information to their GP or Practitioner as to all medications being used and when the lesions were first noticed, or when they noticed their existing lesions worsening. In some instances the eruption of new lesions may take several weeks or even months to occur, when this happens it may be difficult to determine the exact causal relationship between a drug and an eruption. The following chart may be of assistance in determining if one of your medications may be involved.

 Date  Time  Medication  Name  Dose  Reason for Medication Symptoms Experienced When Symptoms

First Noticed

  e.g. 15/2  8.00am  Carvedilol   25mg  Blood Pressure New lesions on skin not affecting old lesions 2 weeks after first taking it.
 Or e.g. 15/2  8.00am  Bisoprolol  10mg  Cardiomyopathy Worsening of old lesions After 72 hours, burning red skin, lesions rapidly spread
             
             
             

REFERENCES

  • Lee A. Thomson J.; Drug-induced skin reactions; Adverse Drug Reactions, 2nd edition (ISBN: 0 85369 601 2) Pharmaceutical Press 2006; http://www.pharmpress.com/files/docs/ADRe2Ch05.pdf
  • GRACE K. KIM, DO; b JAMES Q. DEL ROSSO, DO ; Drug-Provoked Psoriasis: Is It Drug Induced or Drug Aggravated? Understanding Pathophysiology and Clinical Relevance; J Clin Aesthetic Dermatol. 2010;3(1):32–38.
  • Milavec-Pureti? V. et al.; Drug Induced Psoriasis; Acta Dermatovenerol Croat; 2011;19(1):39-42
  • Mahajan R, Handa S. Pathophysiology of psoriasis. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2013;79, Suppl S1:1-9

 

Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part 2

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Are you having trouble controlling your thoughts and finding it difficult to let yourself float in the Full Body Scan Meditation or the Releasing Troubles and Worries Exercise?

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WELL DON’T WORRY!!!!!!!

Here is a “Thought-Stopping” Exercise that can be used during either the Full Body Scan Meditation or the Releasing Troubles and Worries Exercise or when trying to get to sleep.

In thought-stopping, you would do this exercise FIRST. So lie on a yoga bed for the exercises or in bed to get to sleep.

Think about something that you know is worrying you and will keep you awake …… something troubling you that you will know your mind will churn over and make it difficult to relax or go to sleep.  Force your mind to concentrate on that issue or person e.g. the project at work is in trouble and you know your boss is going to get angry at you and the team. Turn this over in your mind again and again and then suddenly in your mind “Shout Out” STOP!!!!!!. Breath easily and try to relax …… if you feel the issue creeping back into your mind ….. repeat the STOP exercise again and again until your mind releases the thought.

This STOP exercise basically is forcing your brain to recognize when to stop thinking about something …. It abruptly interrupts the thought process and makes the brain shift its focus … this is where the relaxation technique, that you have chosen should now be used.

A number of sites on the internet offer some wonderful guided meditations, and alternative Relaxation Techniques. Below we have listed some of the techniques and their links:-

SAFE HAVEN” – VISUALIZATION – Page 19 http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn16/docs/Franklin_Relaxation_Therapist_Manual.pdf

QUICK RELAXATION STRATEGIES

https://www.k-state.edu/paccats/Contents/Stress/Quick%20Relaxation%20

Strategies.pdf

 

ABC GUIDED AUDIO MEDITATIONS

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/features/meditation-toolkit/audio-practice/4326674

 

Also read our blog “Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Psoriasis, Stressed about Psoriasis – Identify Your Stressors and Yours Stress Responses, Simple Physical Relaxation Techniques for Psoriasis Patients, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part 1 – For Psoriasis Patients, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation

 

REFERENCES

  1. National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP); Manage Stress Workbook; http://www.prevention.va.gov/mpt/2013/docs/managestressworkbook_dec2013.pdf
  2. Relaxation Techniques for Health: What You Need To Know; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; https://nccih.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/Get_The_Facts_Relaxation_Techniques_02-06-2015.pdf
  3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation; http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/ACF3944.pdf
  4. Manzoni G.M. et al.; Relaxation training for anxiety: a ten-years systematic review with meta-analysis ; BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:41 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-41
  5. Franklin C.L. et al.: Relaxation Enhancement Therapist Manual; http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn16/docs/Franklin_Relaxation_Therapist_Manual.pdf

Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part 1

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As we indicated in the Simple Physical Relaxation Techniques blog, it is important that you take control and find some relaxation techniques that best assist you to relax and to control your stress levels and increase your emotional resilience. Once you have mastered the 4 exercises that you found or will find in our Physical Relaxation Techniques blog it is time to combine any one of these with some simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Exercises and find the one that works for you:-

RELEASING YOUR TROUBLES AND WORRIES

 Create a Picture in Your Mind

Think of a view or a place or an object that you find simple, quiet and inspiring or use one of the following.

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Study every minute detail in your mind.

If you are sitting on the sand on the beach, feel the aetting sun warming your face, feel the breeze on your skin, smell the ocean air, taste the salty tang on the breeze, hear the waves washing right up to you and as you hear each and every wave, release all of your stress and throw it onto the waves to wash out into the ocean …… take a bad feeling and do the same with this feeling and just release it to the waves, repeat with a troubled thought, or a person who riles you or who has upset you … do it with everything that has angered, troubled, annoyed, worried or upset you until you are totally relaxed and free from all troubles and worries.

When using the sunset …. Do the same as you imaging the colour changing and fading until you are free from all troubles and worries and looking at a beautiful starry night.

When using the rainbow … do the same as you climb higher onto the rainbow ……. with each step leave another thing behind you. Climb right to the top of the rainbow and view the world free from all troubles and worries and as you begin to make your way down the rainbow know that you remain free from all of you troubles and worries as you step into a field of beautiful flowers and lush grass.

When using the garden …. Smell the flowers, hear the bees, watch the sun glint on dragon fly wings, and as you go through the gate leave all of your troubles behind you and imagine yourself walking along a golden path into beautiful warm, fern forest. Wind the path back to the garden but notice that when you walk back into the garden your troubles and worries have all gone and you a free to enjoy the garden with a feeling of peace and serenity.

RELEASING PAIN AND DISCOMFORT

Body Scan Meditation

To practice the Body Scan Meditation, get into a comfortable position, by lying on a yoga mat on the floor or on a bed. You can use a pillow under your head. You can also sit in a chair on in the Yoga position. Use the Controlled Breathing or the Progressive Relaxation exercise from our Simple Physical Relaxation Technique blog and gently bring your awareness to the present.

1. Concentrate on a specific body part, e.g. your right arm. As you breathe deeply, scan that part of your body for sensations – heat, pain or burning. Notice the sensations but try not to get lost in thought and feel the heat, pain or burning. Repeat in your mind – “ALL HEAT, PAIN, or BURNING IS GONE”…………. Repeat three times

Gradually let your focus move to different body parts—each leg, your hips, stomach, chest, hands, arms, and head. And do the same.

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2. Practice the Body Scan Meditation and do not worry if you become aware of your mind’s tendency to drift to other thoughts. When you notice this happening, just let the thought go and gently bring your attention back to your body. If you have any pain or discomfort, just notice it, accept it, and release it using the mantra and continue scanning

The more you do this exercise the greater control you will achieve over your pain or discomfort.

Also read our blog “Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Psoriasis, Stressed about Psoriasis – Identify Your Stressors and Yours Stress Responses, Simple Physical Relaxation Techniques for Psoriasis Patients, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part 2 – For Psoriasis Patients, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation

 

 

REFERENCES

  •  National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP); Manage Stress Workbook; http://www.prevention.va.gov/mpt/2013/docs/managestressworkbook_dec2013.pdf
  • Relaxation Techniques for Health: What You Need To Know; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; https://nccih.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/Get_The_Facts_Relaxation_Techniques_02-06-2015.pdf
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation; http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/ACF3944.pdf
  • Manzoni G.M. et al.; Relaxation training for anxiety: a ten-years systematic review with meta-analysis ; BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:41 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-41
  • Franklin C.L. et al.: Relaxation Enhancement Therapist Manual; http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn16/docs/Franklin_Relaxation_Therapist_Manual.pdf

Simple Physical Relaxation Techniques

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It is important that you and you alone take control – find the solution that best helps you and ensure that you keep doing it – remember it comes down to your adherence to not only your treatment plan but also in your efforts to control your stress and increase your emotional resilience.

The next step is to test some simple Physical Relaxation Techniques and find the one that works for you:-

Use the following to help you release muscle tension.

YOGA STRETCH

 1.         Stand relaxed with your arms hanging at your sides and place your feet comfortably apart.

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2.       Tilt your head back and count slowly to five.

3.       Roll your head forward and count slowly to five.

4.       Exhale as you curl your body forward and bend at the waist; arms dangling down and slowly count to five.

5.       Inhale slowly through your mouth as you slowly straighten up whilst raising your arms overhead – stretching as far as you can. Then            drop your arms slowly to sides as you exhale though your mouth.

Repeat several times.

CONTROLLED BREATHING

1.        Use a yoga mat or a folded blanket – lie down with your back flat on the floor and place a book or large magazine on your                          stomach.

2.        Bend your knees (you can close your eyes if this makes your more relaxed).

3.        Inhales and push your stomach upwards (but not you upper chest) as far as you can and slowly count to five, then exhale slowly.                You may also use the affirmative “I am relaxed” as you exhale.

Repeat several times.

Use the following after a physical reaction to a stressful situation to allow the physical changes of your stress reaction to subside and return to a non-stress state.

RELAXATION RESPONSE

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1.        Sit (or lie) in a comfortable position in a quiet environment with eyes closed.

2.        Start with your feet and mentally relax each muscle group moving up to the head—calf, thigh, waist, stomach, arms, chest, neck,              face, and forehead.

3.        Breathe in through your nose gently pushing your stomach out (but not your upper chest).

4.        Breathe out through your mouth and let your stomach relax.

Repeat this exercise for 10-20 minutes.

When finished, open your eyes but remain seated or lying for several more minutes.

PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION

1.        Lie flat on a yoga mat or a folded blanket – with your eyes closed and knees bent.

2.        Beginning with your right foot, press foot firmly to the floor and count slowly to five, then relax for the count of five; repeat with the              left foot.

3.        Straighten legs out and press back of lower right leg firmly to the floor and count slowly to five, then relax for the count of five;                    repeat with left leg.

4.        Press each of the following areas firmly to the floor and count slowly to five, and then relax for the count of five. (one at a time):

             a.      Back of thighs and buttocks

             b.       Lower back and shoulder blades

             c.       Arms

             d.      Back of head

REMEMBER: – to breathe normally as you press and relax. Repeat several times.

There are many other forms of Relaxations Techniques including, exercise, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi etc. On the internet there are many sites that offer other tips for relaxation exercises and meditation techniques…

Walking is an excellent form of exercise that will cost you nothing.

And of course other activities e.g. gyms and swimming pools will require membership fees to be paid.

Also read our blog “Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Psoriasis, Stressed about Psoriasis – Identify Your Stressors and Yours Stress Responses, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part1, and Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation – Part 2

 

REFERENCES

 

  • National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP); Manage Stress Workbook; http://www.prevention.va.gov/mpt/2013/docs/managestressworkbook_dec2013.pdf
  • Relaxation Techniques for Health: What You Need To Know; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; https://nccih.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/Get_The_Facts_Relaxation_Techniques_02-06-2015.pdf
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation; http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/ACF3944.pdf
  • Manzoni G.M. et al.; Relaxation training for anxiety: a ten-years systematic review with meta-analysis ; BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:41 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-41
  • Franklin C.L. et al.: Relaxation Enhancement Therapist Manual; http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn16/docs/Franklin_Relaxation_Therapist_Manual.pdf

 

Stressed about Your Skin Condition – Identify Your Stressors and Your Stress Responses

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Whether you suffer from Psoriasis, Eczema / Dermatitis etc. stress is a recognized trigger that initiates and exacerbates fale ups. Being able to recognize what your Stress Triggers (Stressors) may assist you in modifying your responses and be part of the learning curve in managing your condition.

Identifying your Stressors

Use the list below to identify your stressors. For each item on the list, note whether or not it is important to you and whether or not you have control over it.

Changing Jobs/Promotion      Family Conflicts                      General Health   

Lack of Confidence                  Isolation                                     Money Worries

Pain/Fatigue                              Planning for Retirement         Public Speaking

Traffic to/from Work               Travel/Vacation/Holidays       Upcoming Wedding

Social Events                           World Events: War, Natural Disasters, Economy

Other:_______________        Other:_______________

 

  IMPORTANT NOT IMPORTANT
 

 

 

You are in Control

 

 

 

     
 

 

 

You do not have Control

 

 

 

   

 

 How Does Your Body Respond to Your Stressor?

Take note of what your body is telling you. Your body may constantly show a set pattern of response to stress and, as such, if you become aware of these responses you can then take the next step in trying to control these responses. These are classified as the following:

1) Physical

2) Behavioral

3) Emotional

4) Cognitive and

5) Spiritual

 

Physical symptoms include:- Shallow or rapid breathing, rapid heat beat, headaches, nausea or indigestion, hot flushes or sweaty palms, back pain, tight shoulders and/or neck or other unusual random aches and pains, insomnia and/or excessive fatigue, Psoriasis flare up.

tiredness-sets-in-1482054-640x480 backache-1620045-639x442

Behavioral symptoms include:- Excessive smoking, abuse of alcohol and/or compulsive eating.  Compulsive chewing of gum or inner cheek or grinding one’s teeth, especially at night. Aggressiveness, bossiness and/or being over critical of others;

smoker-1457305-639x497 bad-guy-1623961-640x960have-a-drink-1-1510449-640x480

 

Emotional symptoms include:- Excessive impulse to laugh or cry, unhappiness for no reason and being easily upset. General boredom or nervousness and edginess. Extreme loneliness and/or overwhelming feelings of being powerless to change things. Over reacting and/or intense anger.

crying-1440466-640x480frustrated-1439244-640x480

Cognitive symptoms include:- Mental confusion/concentration – trouble thinking clearly or being able to do simple mental tasks e.g. adding numbers up or simply being able to read a book, forgetfulness, memory loss and loss of sense of humor.

Spiritual symptoms might include:- Loss of faith – doubt, martyrdom and just a general loss of direction in one’s life, being vulnerable to cult groups.

 

Identify Your Stressor Responses

When you know how your body responds to stressors, you can focus your attention on finding the best stress management technique for each one. Tick the box corresponding to your Body Responses as to when you feel stressed and identify what the stressor was.

SYMPTOMS STRESSOR SYMPTOMS STRESSOR
Chest Pain

 

  Fatigue  
Chest Tightness

 

  Lack of Energy  
Heart Palpitations

 

  Difficulty Sleeping  
Headache/Migraines

 

  Depression/Anxiety  
Neck & Shoulder Pain

 

  Sadness  
Teeth Grinding

 

  Crying  
Backache

 

  Irritability/Anger  
Muscle Crams/Spasms

 

  Frustration  
General Muscle Tension   Forgetfulness

 

 
Pain

 

  Worrying  
Upset Stomach/Nausea

 

  Restlessness  
Diarrhea / Constipation

 

  Lack of Motivation  
Increased Smoking

 

  Blaming Others  
Increased Alcohol Consumption   Loneliness  
Excessive eating for the sake of eating, not when hungry   Skin Flare-up (State the Condition) ________________

e.g. psoriasis

 

 

Now Rate the Severity of Your Stress Response

 

0       1        2        3       4        5       6       7        8        9       10

l____l____l____l____l____l____l____l____l____l____l

 

Not                        A little                   Somewhat                Very                        Extremely

troubled                troubled                 troubled                 troubled                    troubled

Date/Time Stress Level

(0-10)

What Did I Do? What Did I Think?
E.G.   9.30pm 10 Argument with Partner Yelled and stormed out I hated myself, I hated him/her, I hated life, I hated the way I felt
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     
 

 

 

     

 

Also read our blog “Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Psoriasis”, Simple Physical Relaxation Techniques for Psoriasis Patients, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part 1 – For Psoriasis Patients, Simple Mental/Mind Relaxation Techniques Part 2 – For Psoriasis Patients”

 

 

 

References

 

  1. Bamber, Petrina Nicole, “Quality of life for patients with psoriasis : more than skin deep” (2009). Master’s and Doctoral Projects. Paper 272. http://utdr.utoledo.edu/graduate-projects/272
  2. National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP); Manage Stress Workbook; http://www.prevention.va.gov/mpt/2013/docs/managestressworkbook_dec2013.pdf
  3. Franklin C.L. et al.: Relaxation Enhancement Therapist Manual; http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn16/docs/Franklin_Relaxation_Therapist_Manual.pdf

Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Psoriasis

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A rapid heartbeat, headache, stiff neck, backache, rapid breathing, sweating and upset stomach are a few of the everyday physical symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression. There is a growing medical consensus of opinion that many skin diseases are strongly associated with psychological stress and illness. The relationship of stress, anxiety, depression, not to mention feelings of stigma, shame, embarrassment, and low self-esteem all impact upon a person who is suffering from psoriasis. 1, 2

The interplay between stress and multiple biologic systems in our bodies can trigger the onset of psoriasis. For many anxiety or depression is a symptom after the event, especially if the condition is chronic and especially visual and/or painful.

Regardless of how stress is defined, studies conducted show a consistent relationship between stress and psoriasis.  The majority of psoriasis sufferers, themselves, also consider stress to be the main cause for or exacerbation of their psoriasis, ranking it above infections, trauma, medications, diet, or weather.

Studies have defined stress into three general categories:                                                     sorrow-and-worry-1434793 FreeImages

1) Major stressful life events (e.g., employment or financial problems,

    death of a spouse, major personal illness),

2) Psychological or personality difficulties, and

3) Lack of social support.

In one study patients were questioned as to what types of stressful life events that had occurred in the previous 12 months, that could have triggered their skin condition.

Stressful life events were seen in 26% of the psoriasis patients, the most common stressful life event seen was financial loss or problems (8%), death of close family member (4%), sexual problems (4%), family conflict (2%), major personal illness or injury (2%), change in working conditions (2%), failure in examinations (2%), family member unemployed (2%), illness of family member (2%), getting married or engaged (2%) and miscellaneous (2%). 5

 It is important to recognize that psoriasis is a lifelong disease that affects patients not only physically but also socially and emotionally. As seen from the patients’ perspective, the most severe negative effects of their skin condition do not result from physical symptoms alone, but rather from the interaction of their physical symptoms and their mental/emotional state. Researchers have found that the stress of having psoriasis, in itself can initiate or exacerbate depression in depression-prone individuals.

The challenge for sufferers of skin conditions is, with the aim of improving their quality of life, to help themselves to find, together with their practitioner, the best personal treatment plan and then sticking to it. The main challenges in the effective management of skin conditions, comes down to patient adherence to the treatment plan and their emotional resilience.

 

References

  1. Biljan D. et al.: Psoriasis, Mental Disorders and Stress, Coll. Antropol. 33 (2009) 3: 889–892
  2. Buske KIrschbaum Hellhammer et al.,; Endocrine and immune responses to stress in chronic inflammatory skin disorders; 992. 231-240 (2003)
  3. Gerhard Schmid-Ott et al.,; Patient considerations in the management of mental stress in psoriasis; Patient Intelligence 2012:4 41–50; 2012 publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.
  4. Malhotra SK, Mehta V. Role of stressful life events in induction or exacerbation of psoriasis and chronic urticaria.; Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2008;74:594-9.
  5. Madhulika A. Gupta. Et al.; A Psychocutaneous Profile of Psoriasis Patients, Who Are Stress Reactors, A Study of 127 Patients; Gen Hosp Psychiatry;11, 166-173, 1989
  6. Jafferany M. Psychodermatology: A Guide to Understanding Common Psychocutaneous Disorders.Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2007;9(3):203-213.