Family members and caregivers of children with atopic dermatitis (AD) may be at increased risk for anxiety and depression, according to new research presented at the 28th European Dermato-Venereology Society Congress in Madrid.
Researchers from the PHIUniversity Clinic of Dermatology assessed the impact of an AD diagnosis on the families of 35 children aged 1-6. In total, the researchers evaluated 83 family members and caregivers and found that all respondents reported at least mild severity anxiety with some showing moderate severity anxiety. Almost three in four (74 percent) participants were also found to present with depression. The study found that depression and anxiety scores were associated with the persistence and longevity of AD.
Researchers did not find an association between scores and the severity of the disease, meaning that depression or anxiety was not observed to increase where AD was more severe.
The study used the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and Hamilton Anxiety Rating scale (HAM-A). To supplement the ratings questionnaires, the team also asked participants what their greatest concerns were. The most frequent worry reported 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.
"The chronicity and complexity of chronic dermatitis often leads to overlooked anxiety and depression in family members and caregivers, but our results show the extent of this cannot be overstated, says lead researcher Dr. Vesna Grivcheva-Panovska. “In the future, we must take a wholesome view of the situation and a widened approach to the management of AD not only of the patients but of their families as well.”