If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis (or have a close family member with the condition), it’s easy to feel worried or stressed about it. After all, the condition can be difficult to navigate and can affect your quality of life and overall sense of well-being.
There are a variety of ways to find support and guidance throughout your journey with psoriasis. Condition-specific support groups, both in-person and online, can help with your emotions, offer treatment advice, and more. Here’s what you need to know about finding — and participating in — support groups for psoriasis.
There are a number of reasons why it’s important for a person diagnosed with psoriasis to find a supportive community. With such a community, you can:
Ultimately, finding a community of others who truly understand the journey you are on can help improve your quality of life and overall wellness. Even if you have a strong personal support network, you may want to speak with others who have experience with your diagnosis — those who can offer personal advice for managing psoriasis.
One of the best ways to experience community is by being with other people face-to-face. There are a few ways you can do this. (If any of these types of communities appeal to you and you need help finding or vetting one, ask your health care team for referrals.)
Support groups consist of people who meet together at set times to talk about and process an issue centered around a shared experience. In the case of psoriasis, the group leader will lead discussions about issues that come up during treatment for both people with the condition and their caregivers.
You can usually find in-person support groups through your psoriasis care center or hospital support service department. Some nonprofit or third-party organizations also provide support groups. If you find an appealing one, be sure to ask the group for more information to determine when it meets and if it has any requirements for participation.
If you’d prefer to talk about your psoriasis journey one-on-one, find a therapist or a social worker who specializes in working with people diagnosed with psoriasis or other skin conditions. (The same goes for family, friends, and caregivers of someone with psoriasis.) Your therapist will help you process your psoriasis diagnosis, deal with potential setbacks, and address mental health issues that crop up. Most dermatologists, rheumatologists, or other health care professionals can offer medical advice and direct you to these therapists if that is the kind of support you want and need.
Some people opt for a psoriasis mentor. This is a person who has been diagnosed with psoriasis or who has cared for someone who has the condition, like a parent. The mentorship relationship is different from a friendship and from a therapy relationship. This is someone who understands what you’re going through and who can walk alongside you during your own psoriasis journey.
Some people prefer to connect with others online rather than in person. This can make it easier to make it to meetings if you aren’t feeling well. It can also give you access to people from around the world who can offer support, rather than just those in your geographic area.
Blogs for or by those diagnosed with psoriasis can offer insights into life with psoriasis that you might not otherwise get. Some bloggers choose to chronicle their personal journeys with psoriasis online. This allows you to see — and relate to — what it is like to live with psoriasis on a day-to-day basis.
Blogs can also help you get the information you need to answer any questions you might have about psoriasis or treatment options. If you aren’t comfortable asking a question or you don’t want to wait for someone to answer it, you can often find the answer on a blog.
Some people create personal Facebook groups (or other online communities) that center on that person’s journey with psoriatic disease. This can be helpful in that they can share their health updates in one place with any friends or family they wish to invite to the group. With such a group, they are saved from having to tell everyone individually when something in their condition or treatment changes.
Such a group can enable you to get support from family and friends who might be far away, who may not otherwise know about your journey, or who don’t understand what you’re going through. When they respond to your updates or post comments, you get support from people near and far.
You may also decide to join an online social support group for people with skin diseases. These may or may not “meet” at a regular time, but they can provide forums where you can talk psoriasis 24/7: Post your questions, ask for support, and share parts of your own journey. People from around the world join these groups, so there’s nearly always someone online to respond when you need them. You may need to try several groups before you find one that is right for you.
Virtual support groups can be a great way to meet other people who have been diagnosed with psoriasis and get support from them. Some of these online support groups meet via video, while others might meet in text-only chat rooms. Whatever the format, meetings are led in a manner similar to those that are in-person — a leader asks questions and directs the conversation to help participants process their experiences.
If you want support during your psoriasis journey, you might consider MyPsoriasisTeam. There, you can share your story, ask questions about psoriasis, and participate in ongoing conversations. You’ll end up connected to people — over 102,000 teammates, in fact — from around the world who understand exactly what you’re going through with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
MyPsoriasisTeam members love to meet new people and want to inspire others to live well with psoriasis. One member said, “I hope this site will help you through all the trials and tribulations.” Another explained, “Welcome to this site. You can learn a lot about this disease here. We all share our experiences and understand how psoriasis affects our bodies. You will find people here who really care and who will support you.”
People often express gratitude for the benefits they gain from the network. One member said, “Thank you! I appreciate all the support I get at this site from you and everyone else!” Another said, “All of us here understand. I am so grateful for this site. It helps to have people to talk to.”
Do you have ideas or words of encouragement for your fellow MyPsoriasisTeam members? Leave a comment below or share your story on your Activities page.