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Psychosocial Burden of Autoimmune Blistering Diseases: A Comprehensive Survey Study

June 06, 2024

Patients who suffer from the severe skin disorder autoimmune blistering disease (AIBD) are much more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, according to a new study led by Yale researchers.

The study, published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, found that patients diagnosed with AIBD reported high levels of depression and impairment to their quality of life. The patients also reported extremely high levels of body image disturbance, more so than patients with other disfiguring diseases or injuries.

The research team, led by first author Marney White, PhD, MS, professor of public health and psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, relied on validated self-report questionnaires provided by 451 adults recruited through the International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation.

The scientists sought to expand on research that has substantiated psychosocial impairment, including depression and anxiety, in patients with AIBD. This study was more focused on the impact of AIBD on body image and related psychological impacts.

“This study highlights an important yet underrecognized element of our patients’ experience,” said Mary Tomayko, MD, PhD, associate professor of dermatology and of pathology at Yale School of Medicine and the study’s senior author.

Based on their findings, the researchers recommended that clinicians treating AIBD should screen patients for psychological issues and be prepared to offer referrals to mental health services.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on June 06, 2024