Individuals with severe rosacea are often anxious about the social consequences of blushing and may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, according to a recent study published in the journal Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy.1
To evaluate the psychological and social impacts of rosacea, 31 patients completed five standard psychological questionnaires, according to researchers Dr. Daphne Su and Dr. Peter Drummond, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia.
The scores for blushing propensity, stress and social phobia were found to be higher in individuals with severe rosacea compared with those with mild rosacea or those in a control group without rosacea. The investigators noted that the patients with high blushing propensity scores did not necessarily experience greater increases in flushing than others in embarrassing situations, but instead were more self-conscious about their appearance.
The researchers reported that fear of blushing was so debilitating in three participants that they sought psychological assistance because of concerns about being regarded unfavorably in work or social settings. Each of the three appeared to benefit from cognitive-behavioral techniques, including relaxation training, which helped them reduce heightened heart rate, shift attention to other parts of the body and feel an overall sense of control.
- Su D, Drummond PD. Blushing propensity and psychological distress in people with rosacea. Clin Psychol Psychother 23 June 2011 doi:10.1002/cpp.