Rosacea often casts a negative spell on quality of life and emotional well-being that is in direct proportion to its physical effects, according to a new survey by the National Rosacea Society. Fortunately, most rosacea patients reported they are able to overcome these drawbacks through effective medical therapy and coping techniques.
Among the 603 survey respondents, 76 percent said rosacea's effect on their personal appearance had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and nearly half said it had diminished their outlook on life. Moreover, for those who described their condition as severe, 94 percent said it had damaged their self-confidence and 77 percent said their rosacea had negatively affected their outlook.
More than 69 percent of the total survey respondents said they had experienced embarrassment, 65 percent reported feelings of frustration and 41 percent experienced anxiety over their condition. Thirty-five percent said they had felt helpless; 25 percent suffered depression; and 18 percent felt isolated.
Of the respondents with severe symptoms, nearly 61 percent said they avoided face-to-face contact during flare-ups, and 38 percent said they even canceled meetings or social engagements because of rosacea's effect on their appearance.
"Fortunately, through greater public awareness, more people are seeking medical attention before their rosacea becomes increasingly severe," said Dr. Diane Berson, clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University. "As a result, its impact on appearance is being halted and controlled before the emotional consequences become even more intrusive on their daily lives."
The good news is that for 80 percent of the survey respondents, the results of effective medical therapy have improved or somewhat improved their emotional well-being.
Many rosacea patients said they had learned to successfully cope with their condition and that openly discussing their disorder with others helps dispel any embarrassment or social unease. Nearly 56 percent of the respondents said they have explained their medical condition to others during a flare-up, and 56 percent said they carried on their lives as usual.