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Medically reviewed by Dr. Samuel Sarmiento, M.D., MPH on August 3, 2023

A recent scientific study uncovers the potential role insomnia plays in increasing symptoms of depression and anxiety among those living with atopic dermatitis. This article breaks down the findings of this study, underscoring the need for more attention to sleep disturbances as a contributor to depression and anxiety in managing atopic dermatitis.

  • Insomnia may link atopic dermatitis severity to experiences of depression and anxiety.
  • Insomnia accounts for approximately 82% of the impact that symptom severity has on the development of depression and anxiety.
  • By managing sleep disturbances, those with atopic dermatitis may be able to improve their psychological well-being and potentially lessen the symptoms.

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic skin condition that causes inflammation and intense itching. Common in both children and adults, it often disrupts sleep patterns and affects overall quality of life. For those living with AD, sleep disturbances are particularly common, and the link between the severity of AD and the onset of depression and anxiety symptoms is becoming increasingly clear.

A recent study published in the journal Archives of Dermatological Research confirms that there’s a strong connection between the severity of AD and symptoms of insomnia. With sleep disturbances affecting 33–87% of adult AD patients, their effect on overall health and daily life is considerable.

Unmasking Insomnia’s Role in Mental Health for People With AD

The relationship between insomnia and mental health in AD patients is stronger than you might think. The study found that insomnia symptoms are responsible for 81% of the relationship between AD and depression, and 82% of the effect of AD on anxiety symptoms.

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These findings reinforce previous studies suggesting that sleep disturbances could play a role in the development of mood and anxiety disorders in those with AD. It’s not just that AD and sleep disturbances coexist—insomnia may greatly influence mental health as a result.

Managing AD Symptoms With a Focus on Sleep

Given the profound influence of insomnia on mental health in people with AD, managing sleep may be more important than previously thought. If you’re living with AD, research suggests that improving your quality of sleep could help your mental health as well as your AD symptoms. This may be important, as AD can impact various aspects of daily life.

In a nutshell, good sleep could potentially reduce the impact that AD may have on your mental health. Addressing sleep disturbances could be a powerful tool to promote psychological well-being in patients with AD

Source:

Salfi, F., Amicucci, G., Ferrara, M., Tempesta, D., De Berardinis, A., Chiricozzi, A., Peris, K., Fargnoli, M.C., & Esposito, M. (2023). The role of insomnia in the vulnerability to depressive and anxiety symptoms in atopic dermatitis adult patients. Archives of Dermatological Research, 315(6), 1577-1582. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00403-023-02538-0