Psychological Conditions Associated with Vitiligo Patients


Investigators from Egypt recorded a high prevalence of stress, anxiety, and depression in patients with vitiligo.

 Marwa Abd El Malk Nasser,MD

Marwa Abd El Malk Nasser, MD

An investigation from Egypt into the dermatological condition vitiligo prompted investigators to record several mental and psychological complications associated with the disease.

Investigators led by Marwa Abd El Malk Nasser, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Fayoum University, Fayoum, noted the significant effect that vitiligo had on the quality of life of affected patients.

Often, patients with vitiligo have felt stigmatized and concerned of their condition. Prior to the study, various other investigations have reported psychological issues associated with the skin disease.

According to earlier reports, roughly 75% of vitiligo patients had psychiatric conditions associated with the disease.

As such, Nasser and colleagues set out to find the relation between vitiligo and stress, anxiety, and depression.

Additionally, they aimed to measure how these complications affected the quality of life index.

The Methods

The present case study involved a total of 50 patients ages 12 to 60 years with a diagnosis of vitiligo as well as 50 healthy volunteers as a control group.

Patients were selected from the dermatology department of Fayoum University Hospital between October 2019 and March 2020.

The vitiligo patient group were predominantly female (72%), and patients under the age of 12 years with other dermatological disorders were excluded from the study.

Investigators recorded data on each patient’s age, sex, marital status, family history, work, previous stress and physical trauma, as well as their form of vitiligo and forms of treatment.

Nasser and investigators utilized the Vitiligo Area Scoring Index and dereived a VASI score for each participant with vitiligo.

Finally, the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) assessed the quality of life of patients with vitiligo.

The Findings

In their study, Nasser and colleagues reported that there was a statistically significant difference recorded between stress, anxiety, and depression between the 2 study groups.

Regarding patient with vitiligo, the prevalence of stress was 76%, while anxiety was recorded to be 78%, and depression 80%.

Despite this, there was no statistically significant correlation between age of patients in years, marital status, type of work, type of vitiligo, site of lesions, type of therapy whether systemic therapy or UVB therapy, and either stress, anxiety, or depression.

A significant positive correlation between gender and anxiety was acknowledged, with female patients being affected more than male patients.

Additionally, a significant positive correlation between a moderate to severe degree of vitiligo and both anxiety and depression as well as family history of vitiligo and depression were also reported.

Overall, the study confirmed that patients with vitiligo were slightly more likely to have stress, anxiety, and depression when compared to the control group. These findings were in keeping with previous, larger studies that stated that patients with this condition were more likely to have an affective disorder or experience depressive symptoms.

“Vitiligo contains a moderate to huge effect on the quality of lifetime of patients in particular (clothes choice and feelings of embarrassment),” the team wrote. “Female patients with vitiligo are more liable to psychiatric problems than male patients.”

Despite this, there was no statistically significant correlation between stress, anxiety, depression, and the quality-of-life index in vitiligo patients.

The study, “Stress, anxiety, and depression in patients with vitiligo,” was published online in Middle East Current Psychiatry.

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