Quality health cover that meets your needs doesn’t need to be complicated or too expensive. We offer you great cover, easy claims, and above all we tell it like it is – Affinity Health

To find out more, give us a call today!

One of our qualified and friendly agents will be happy to assist you.

Call Center:

0861 11 00 33


086 607 9419

General Enquiries:


Find a Doctor/Dentist

or Dentist


Where can you go?


Near me

The Official National Department of Health COVID-19 Support Service: 060 012 3456 (WhatsApp)

Find a Doctor/Dentist

Near me


Where can you go?


Near me


Understanding The Link Between Social Anxiety And Psoriasis

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, explores the connection between anxiety and psoriasis, the reasons behind this link, and strategies to manage both conditions effectively.

“According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, it is estimated that about 2-3% of the global population has psoriasis. This translates to approximately 125 million people affected by this condition,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“While the physical symptoms of psoriasis are well recognised, the emotional challenges, such as social anxiety, are often less discussed.”


What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a long-term autoimmune disease that causes skin cells to grow too quickly, causing thick, red patches with white scales. These patches often appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back and can be itchy or painful.

The condition usually comes and goes in cycles, flaring up for weeks or months and then improving for a while.

Psoriasis comes in several forms, including:

  1. Plaque Psoriasis: The most common type, characterised by raised, inflamed, red lesions covered with white scales.
  2. Guttate Psoriasis: Is marked by small, drop-shaped lesions, often triggered by infections.
  3. Inverse Psoriasis: Causes smooth, red patches in body folds, like underarms and groin.
  4. Pustular Psoriasis: Features white pustules (blisters of noninfectious pus) surrounded by red skin.
  5. Erythrodermic Psoriasis is a severe form that causes widespread redness and skin shedding and often requires urgent medical attention.

What Is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a relatively common mental health condition with an intense fear of social situations. It often begins in the teenage years and can persist into adulthood if not treated.

People with SAD worry a lot about being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated. This fear can affect daily activities, work, school, and relationships.


The Link Between Psoriasis and Social Anxiety

Various factors contribute to why psoriasis and social anxiety often go hand-in-hand.

Visible Symptoms: Psoriasis often affects visible areas of the body, such as the face, hands, and scalp. As a result, those with psoriasis may feel embarrassed and self-conscious.

Stigma and Misunderstanding: People with psoriasis may face stigma and misunderstanding from others who mistakenly believe the condition is contagious or a result of poor hygiene. This can cause social isolation and more anxiety.

Emotional Distress: The chronic and unpredictable nature of psoriasis can cause significant emotional distress. Flare-ups can be triggered by stress, further perpetuating a cycle of anxiety and worsening skin symptoms.

Impact on Quality of Life: Psoriasis can impact the quality of life. People with psoriasis might avoid social activities, sports, swimming, or wearing specific clothing, leading to social withdrawal and increased anxiety.

Co-Existing Mental Health Conditions: Depression and anxiety disorders, including social anxiety, are more prevalent among individuals with psoriasis. The chronic pain and discomfort associated with psoriasis can exacerbate these mental health conditions.

Managing Psoriasis and Social Anxiety

Here are some strategies to help manage both these conditions:

Medical Treatment for Psoriasis

Topical creams and ointments containing corticosteroids, vitamin D analogues, or retinoids can help reduce inflammation and slow skin cell growth.

Phototherapy, which involves exposure to ultraviolet light under medical supervision, can also help improve symptoms.

Medications like biologics and immunosuppressants may be prescribed for severe psoriasis cases.

Lifestyle Changes

Maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding triggers (such as stress and smoking), and using gentle skin care products can help manage symptoms.


Approaches for Social Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for social anxiety.6 CBT helps individuals recognise and challenge negative thoughts and develop healthier coping strategies.

Gradual exposure to feared social situations can also help reduce anxiety over time.

Medications like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or benzodiazepines may be prescribed to manage anxiety symptoms.

Support Systems

Joining a support group for people with psoriasis or social anxiety can provide a sense of community and understanding. Discussing your condition with friends and family can also help reduce feelings of isolation.

Stress Management Techniques:

Meditation, yoga, and deep-breathing exercises can help reduce stress levels, potentially decreasing psoriasis flare-ups and social anxiety. Exercise can also boost mood, lower stress, and enhance overall well-being.

Self-Care and Acceptance

A consistent skincare routine that includes moisturising and using prescribed treatments can help manage psoriasis symptoms. Challenging negative thoughts and practising self-compassion can improve self-esteem and reduce social anxiety.

When to Seek Help

If psoriasis or social anxiety is significantly impacting your quality of life, it’s essential to seek professional help. Dermatologists can provide effective treatments for psoriasis, while therapists and counsellors can offer strategies and support for managing social anxiety.


The relationship between psoriasis and social anxiety highlights the intricate connection between physical and mental health. By seeking appropriate medical treatment, engaging in therapeutic approaches, building support systems, and practising self-care, individuals with psoriasis can reduce the impact of social anxiety and improve their overall well-being. Remember, overcoming these challenges is a journey; taking proactive steps can significantly improve your quality of life.


About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you would like to leave a comment


Get A Free Quote