Depression and anxiety symptoms in psoriasis patients compared to a control group without psoriasis—a descriptive study

  • Sethulakshmi Sreevalsam Anil Consultant Psychiatrist, Ernakulam
  • Pankajakshan Vijayanthi Indu Additional Professor in Psychiatry, Government Medical College,Kozhikode
  • Vidyadharan Suja Professor and Head, Department of Dermatology, Sree Gokulam Medical College & Research Centre, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Anuja Elizabeth George Professor and Head, Department of Dermatology, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Prabhakaran Anil Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram
Keywords: Depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, dermatology, psoriasis, quality of life


Background: Due to psychosocial and neurobiological reasons psoriasis is frequently associated with depression and anxiety. The aim of this study was to compare the occurrence of depression and anxiety symptoms in patients with psoriasis with a control group without psoriasis. It was also aimed to study the correlates of these psychological symptoms in patients with psoriasis.

Methods: A cross-sectional, comparison study was done on patients with psoriasis (N=35) and a control group (N=23), who were patients from Otorhinolaryngology department or their caregivers, without psoriasis, attending a tertiary care centre. In the study group, the severity of psoriasis, quality of life, depression and anxiety symptoms were assessed using the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI), Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 scale (GAD-7) respectively.

Results: 57.1% of cases (95% CI= 39.52-73.24) were found to have symptoms of depression versus 8.7% (95% CI= 1.52-29.51) of controls (p <0.01).  45.7% of cases (95%   CI= 29.22 - 63.12) had anxiety symptoms while it was absent in controls (p<0.01). No significant difference between the cases and controls were noted in other variables. Scores of PHQ-9 (ρ=0.825, p<0.01) and GAD-7 (ρ=0.766, p<0.01) were found to have a significant positive correlation with DLQI scores—higher scores suggestive of poorer quality of life. No significant correlation was found between the duration of psoriasis, PASI, PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores.

Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms in patients with psoriasis compared to a control group without psoriasis. Psychological symptoms have a significant correlation with poorer quality of life of patients with psoriasis.


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