Childhood eczema linked to depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances

The researchers found that those who suffered from depression were usually women and belonged to a higher social class.


A new study has found that eczema in children is linked to depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances. Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions in infants and children, and although many cases resolve on their own, some can persist. Eczema is itchy and red skin that can be prone to “split open” and be painful. This can make it difficult to function, and while there are creams on the market that are supposed to help, they don’t always and it can leave mom wondering what she can do to comfort her child.

According to Medical Xpress, the problem may be more serious than itchy skin, as a new study has shown that children with eczema can be prone to mental health issues as well as trouble sleeping. The study was published in JAMA Dermatology and it can be read in full here.

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The study involved more than 11,000 children and adolescents and found that those with severe eczema were more than twice as likely to become clinically depressed compared to children who did not. The researchers said eczema is a “complex” situation and involves more than just itchy skin.

Eczema is incredibly common, around 20% of children suffer from it, some get past it, and others continue to face it for the rest of their lives. The the researchers found that those who suffered from depression were usually women and belonged to a higher social class. They experienced more episodes of depression and anxiety, and they also had trouble sleeping. Since getting enough sleep is vital for a person’s mental health, this was a trend that didn’t seem to stop. The study highlights the importance of obtaining resources and support for children and their families.

Eczema can have periods of flare-ups, where it appears worse and if this is visible to the public, it could also affect a child’s mental health. If someone is looking at them, because they have a flare-up of eczema on their face or arms, they may become insecure and embarrassed about it, which could explain why they also struggle with depression and anxiety. Considering the body image of young girls, that would also explain why it could have a bigger impact on young girls than on young boys. The final note on this study was that eczema is really more than just healthy skin, it is a health problem that affects all aspects of a child’s well-being.

Sources: Medical Xpress, JAMA Dermatology

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