The emotional impact of rosacea is significant regardless of subtype or severity, according to results of a new survey of 1,675 rosacea patients conducted by the National Rosacea Society. Among survey respondents who suffer from the most common facial redness of subtype one (erythematotelangiectatic) rosacea alone, 82 percent said the condition had a negative impact on their general outlook on life, and that figure rose to 90 percent for those who considered their symptoms moderate to severe. For those who reported having the bumps and pimples of subtype two (papulopustular) rosacea alone, 90 percent reported their condition had a negative impact on their outlook, and for those with moderate to severe symptoms it was 91 percent.
“Even the most common signs of rosacea can lead to negative emotions such as embarrassment and anxiety,” says Richard Fried, M.D., Ph.D., a dermatologist and psychologist at Yardley Dermatology Associates (Yardley, PA). “Fortunately today, medical therapy is available for the first time to treat the redness as well as the inflammation associated with rosacea, which should go a long way toward easing the emotional impact of the disorder for a far greater number of people.” While few survey respondents had the skin thickening of subtype three (rhinophyma) or the eye irritation of subtype four (ocular) rosacea alone, 88 percent of those with subtype three and 86 percent of those who had subtype four in addition to other subtypes reported that rosacea had a negative impact on their outlook on life.
Of the total patients surveyed, 90 percent said that rosacea’s effect on their personal appearance had lowered their self-esteem and self-confidence, and 88 percent said they had suffered embarrassment. They also reported a wide range of other negative feelings, including frustration, cited by 76 percent; anxiety and helplessness, each noted by 54 percent; depression, 43 percent; anger, 34 percent; and isolation, 32 percent. Of the respondents, 52 percent said they had avoided face-to-face contact because of the disorder. “It’s understandable that the more prominent signs of rosacea would lead to greater emotional distress,” says Fried. “Patients should be frank with their doctor about any negative feelings they are experiencing so that he or she can tailor the most appropriate course of therapy for their personal needs.”