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Anxiety and depression, along with its symptoms, can add to the overall existing burden of atopic dermatitis (AD). Yet, the burden of mental health symptoms and psychological suffering in AD are not explained properly.
The main objective of this study is to evaluate the incidence and predictors of depressive symptoms and psychological distress in adults with AD and also compare them with psoriasis and other disorders.
The 2004-2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys, which are a representative sample of US adults, were analyzed. Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) and Kessler-6 index (K-6) scores evaluated depressive symptoms and psychological distress, respectively.
The study results showed that atopic dermatitis in adults was associated with increased likelihood of screening positive for depressive symptoms (PHQ-2 ≥2) (44.3% vs 21.9%) and severe psychological distress (K-6≥13) (25.9% vs 5.5%). Adults with AD versus adults without AD had increased K-6 scores overall and severe psychological distress specifically (K-6≥13). K-6 scores were linked with lower household income and middle income, but inversely related with black and multiracial/other race/ethnicity.
Thus, the study concludes that AD is associated with overall more depressive symptoms and psychological distress and even worse than various other chronic diseases. The study findings also highlight the necessity for clinicians to consider screening and monitoring mental health symptoms in AD patients.
Source: Cheng BT, Silverberg JI. Depression and psychological distress in US adults with atopic dermatitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2019; 123(2):179‐185. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2019.06.002