Emotional stress can be difficult to define. It’s an invisible, immeasurable force that can exist in nearly every facet of our day-to-day lives, even if we are not aware of it. Living in a state of stress can impact both mental and physical health – causing muscle tension, making the heart and lungs to work harder, upsetting digestion and releasing hormones that affect the brain and reproductive systems.
For people who have rosacea, stress can also trigger flare-ups of their symptoms. In an NRS survey of rosacea patients, emotional stress was one of the most commonly cited triggers for rosacea flare-ups, affecting 79 percent of all respondents. Family and career were the top causes of emotional stress. Other causes of stress included finance, health, relationships and social pressure. Another NRS survey found that 69 percent of rosacea patients said they experienced a flare-up related to emotional stress at least once a month.
While stress may often cause rosacea flare-ups, those signs and symptoms themselves can further lead to even more stress and flare-ups. “It would be hard to invent a more embarrassing disease than rosacea,” said Dr. Ted Grossbart, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. “It affects the one part of the body that cannot be hidden — the face — and tends to strike people at a time in life when they may be increasingly self-conscious about changes in their appearance. Moreover, especially because this condition is not widely understood, it can leave its victims feeling isolated and even alienated from society.”
Dealing with stress is a very individual task, but the first step in most stress management plans is to identify what it is that stresses you most. The good news is that in a survey of more than 700 rosacea patients, over 67 percent were able to reduce flare-ups by making an effort to reduce stress in their lives.