Coping With PsA

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: October 2016. | Last updated: January 2022

Psoriatic arthritis is a challenging condition, both physically and emotionally. Chronic diseases like psoriatic arthritis present ongoing challenges, and as the disease progresses, it causes additional stress when dealing with the physical limitations or disability.

Mood disorders, like depression and anxiety, are more common in people living with psoriatic arthritis. People with psoriasis are twice as likely to experience depression than the general public, and people with psoriatic arthritis are twice as likely to be depressed as those with psoriasis alone. Research has also identified that depression and anxiety are more common in those with a higher number of inflamed joints, as well as disability, pain, and fatigue. Depression can also cause fatigue and more sensitivity to pain.1,2

There are several ways to gain support and learn coping strategies that can help a person living with psoriatic arthritis.

Find a support group

It can help to find a support group to connect with others who understand the challenges firsthand and share personal stories. Support groups are available both online and in person.3

Mental health counselor or therapist

Many people with psoriatic arthritis benefit from seeing a mental health counselor or therapist. Counselors and therapists can suggest coping skills to help individuals with psoriatic arthritis deal with the psychosocial and emotional aspects of living with a chronic, painful disease.2

Lean on family and friends

The support of family and friends can provide a tremendous source of strength to anyone living with the challenges of psoriatic arthritis. Many people with psoriatic arthritis find it helpful to talk with family and friends and explain the challenges or frustrations they are experiencing. It can also be beneficial to ask for help and clearly communicate how family and friends can be of support.1,3

Use stress management techniques

Although stress causes a negative impact on the body’s immune response, not everyone experiences the effects of stress the same way. Studies have demonstrated that people’s cardiovascular and endocrine responses to stressful experiences are dependent on their appraisal of the situation and their thoughts about it. Optimism and coping have shown to moderate the effect of stress on the immune system.4

One of the most effective ways in reducing stress is to use activities or techniques to create the relaxation response in the body. Relaxation approaches include deep abdominal breathing, visualization, prayer, meditation, or yoga.5

Exercise, such as walking, benefits the body by deepening the breath and by relieving muscle tension. Physical activity that combines movement, deep breathing and mental focus, such as yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, can help induce calm.5

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