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Anxiety and depression are common in families of AD infants

Presented by
Dr Vesna Grivcheva-Panovska, University Clinic in Skopje (Macedonia)
EADV 2019
Three out of four family members and caregivers of young children with atopic dermatitis (AD) suffer from mild anxiety and depression. This was shown in a study conducted at the University Clinic in Skopje (Macedonia) [1].

Anxiety and depression are often overlooked and underdiagnosed both in patients as well as in family members and caregivers of pre-school children. AD is a considerable burden, also for family members. In addition, the clinical spectrum of AD often includes insomnia, which can also affect the parents of small kids.

To evaluate the psychosocial effect of AD on their family members and caregivers, researchers from the Phi University Clinic of Dermatology in Skopje sent out a 7-item questionnaire in which they asked about the greatest worries of caregivers. It also contained a Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) and Hamilton Anxiety Rating scale (HAM-A) for evaluation of the symptoms of depression and anxiety of family members and caregivers of 35 patients with AD aged 1 to 6. The severity of AD was scored using the Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD).

A total of 83 family members and caregivers were evaluated. All questionnaire respondents reported at least mild-severity anxiety with some showing moderate-severity anxiety. The average score on the HAM-A scale was 12.9 ± 4.8. In addition, almost 3 in 4 (74%) participants were also found to suffer from depression. Interestingly, the highest HAM-A and HAM-D score were not associated with the highest SCORAD values, but with persistence and longevity of AD. The most frequent worry reported by the families was the information families and caregivers received about the nature of the disease itself, since AD is a long-term condition which requires complex and costly medical treatments.

Dr Vesna Grivcheva-Panovska said: “The chronicity and complexity of chronic dermatitis often leads to overlooked anxiety and depression in family members and caregivers and our results show that the extent of this cannot be overstated. In the future, we must take a wholesome view of the situation and a widened approach to the management of AD, not only for the patients but for their families as well.” Keeping this in mind, dermatologists should actively look for symptoms of depression or anxiety in families with AD, and, if necessary, refer affected persons to specialists.

    1. Grivcheva-Panovska V, et al. P0273, EADV 2019, 9-13 Oct, Madrid, Spain.


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