Eczema is the most common chronic disease in children. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of children and 10 percent of adults are affected in industrialized countries.
Mental problems - cause or consequence of atopic dermatitis
The skin is not only the largest because of its diverse and complex tasks, but also the most important human organ next to the brain. The appearance of the skin is very important for the well-being of humans - disturbances of the skin picture can therefore affect a person considerably.
The term "neurodermatitis" derives from the Greek (neuron = nerve, derma = skin and the ending -itis for inflammation). However, atopic dermatitis is not a psyche disorder, but a largely inherited tendency. So it is not the skin disease itself, but their predisposition inherited.
Experts believe that psychological factors and environmental influences provoke the onset of the disease. External factors are allergens, climate and nutrition. The psyche plays a decisive role in its occurrence and course: for example, the mental state can improve or worsen eczema.
Feeling good in "his skin"
Already the chronic skin disease itself is a heavy burden for a neurodermatitis. In addition, affected persons change their behavior in the course of this chronic disease. The result is a vicious circle: inflamed skin and self-inflicted scratch marks make neurodermatitis unattractive, which in turn affects the personality of the individual.
When people turn away for fear of a supposed contagion, the self-esteem of those affected is "scratched" - they gradually withdraw and become an outsider. Neurodermatitis feel - in the truest sense of the word - uncomfortable in their skin. By the way: In an assessment of the influences on the course of the disease, the psyche is in second place.
Why does the skin react so strongly to emotional problems?
This is related to our evolutionary history because the skin develops from the same cotyledon as the brain and nervous system. It is also the limit and the connection to our environment dar. Especially in the first phase of life, therefore, the mother is of particular importance, because in early infancy, body contact is just as important as food.
Lack of physical contact, children can get sick or even die, such. As orphans, who grow up in a very low-contact environment. In the psychological development of man, this phase is crucial for his later personality development.
Therapy: The patient must cooperate
For many people affected, the disease is exacerbated by stress, mental stress or anxiety. The sometimes unbearable itching and inflamed skin areas can lead to restlessness, insomnia, lack of concentration, mood swings and irritability. The interaction between the psyche and the immune system worsens atopic dermatitis - the vicious circle begins again. Since it is known today that atopic dermatitis can be intensified by psychological stress situations, every good therapeutic concept must also address the psychosomatic factors.
With the help of relaxation therapies such as tai chi, autogenic training or muscle relaxation according to Jacobson, sufferers learn to relieve state of tension and improve their self-esteem.
Also helpful is the so-called "scratch diary". In this diary z. B. noted when the itching occurs and what are triggering factors. This makes it easier to differentiate between mental and allergic influences. In special psychotherapies, neurodermatitis players learn to perceive the emotional pressure, consciously deal with it or even avoid it and thus break the vicious circle - itching, scratching, itching again.