New York: People with the common skin condition psoriasis may be at increased risk of depression, says a new study.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that results in thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales which can be itchy for sufferers.

The researchers believe that the connection between psoriasis and depression may be linked to the public’s stigmatization of the disease.

The condition is highly visible on the skin, especially in the summer months when more skin is exposed, and those who are unfamiliar with the disease may react unfavourably to people who have it.

“The public should know that psoriasis is not contagious, so there is no need to act differently around psoriasis patients than you would around anyone else,” said Roger Ho, assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine.

The researchers studied cases of psoriasis and depression in 12,382 adult patients.

About 16.5 percent of the psoriasis patients studied met the criteria for major depression, and the odds of having major depression were doubled among psoriasis patients.

While the researchers initially expected that patients’ likelihood of depression would be linked to the severity of their psoriasis, but his research indicated that this is not the case.

“It seems that it really depends on the patients’ view of themselves, rather than the extent of their psoriasis,” Ho noted.

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