Neurodermatitis is an inflammatory skin disease characterized by redness, rash, itching, and scratching. It earned this name due to its occurrence after psycho-emotional shocks and nervous strains.
Other names used for this condition include neurodermatitis or atopic dermatitis (exudative diathesis), a chronic skin condition with a hereditary predisposition. “Exudative” means that the blisters are filled with fluid.
Physical causes include food and domestic allergens and a genetic predisposition to their intolerance.
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include irritation, redness, rash, intense itching, dry skin, scratching, and flaking.
In adults, this type of dermatitis is also accompanied by allergic rhinitis and tearing.
Sometimes, seborrheic dermatitis due to stress is diagnosed. It’s important to note that this condition differs from seborrhea (a skin disease related to dysfunction of the sebaceous glands due to yeast-like fungi).
It is known that glands are controlled by the nervous system, and stressful situations can disrupt the nervous system’s activity, negatively affecting gland function.
Symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include itching, the formation of scales, and sticky crusts in hairy areas.
Psychosomatics of Neurodermatitis
All these diseases manifest on the skin, so let’s first consider the skin’s main functions: protection, exchange (reception and transmission) of information with the outside world, and temperature regulation.
Key terms for us are “protection” and “information exchange,” where the skin acts as an organ of non-verbal communication. The skin’s language is clear: reddening from embarrassment, goosebumps from cold, paleness from fear, etc.
The question is: what does the skin want to protect us from by showing symptoms of dermatitis? The symptoms themselves, such as irritation, itching, and scratching, common to all types of dermatitis, provide clues.
The symptom “irritation” clearly indicates that something irritates the person, causing unrest. Itching is characterized by persistent, intolerable irritation, thus representing obsessive negative feelings: anxiety, fear, internal conflict due to self-doubt, and dissatisfaction with one’s appearance.
So, psychological problems and emotional experiences instantly or eventually reflect on the skin. As skin immediately shows what is hidden in the soul: the problem is visible and cannot be ignored (as people usually tend to do). Therefore, it signals through the skin for the person to pay attention and take action.
The symptom “scratching” can also help us unravel the psychosomatics of atopic dermatitis. Emotional pain itches, and then the body of a person unwilling (or unable, like small children) to pay attention and solve the internal problem, provides an outlet for expressing suppressed negative feelings that the person cannot openly express (by the way, the psychosomatics of seborrhea also reveals suppressed grievances as a psychological cause).
Scratching provides some relief but also causes new discomfort and pain. Why does a person inflict pain on themselves? Perhaps for the feelings they experience, which they believe they should not have, thus punishing themselves.
Psychological Causes of Stress-Induced Dermatitis
Considering how fiercely a person scratches the itching area, many specialists rightfully point to suppressed aggression as a psycho-emotional cause. What does this mean?
From childhood, we are taught not to show aggression towards parents, close ones, or people in general, even if they are unfair to us. For example, it’s not acceptable to be angry with a mother for insufficient love and attention or to retaliate against her for spanking you as a child, and even more so for an adult.
Unsatisfied love and emotional warmth turn into aggression. The person knows it’s not acceptable, leading to guilt, which subconsciously demands punishment for experiencing this “bad” feeling.
It is pertinent to note that atopic dermatitis in children often arises due to emotional reasons (lack of love or suppressed aggression due to overprotectiveness).
In the case of atopic dermatitis in adults, psychologists point out that there might have been a deficit of sensations in early childhood when tactile relationships with parents are vitally important. Such a person needs tactile and emotional closeness, intimate contact, but withdraws due to fear of potential emotional harm. This leads to tension in relationships, and scratching partially relieves this tension.
Some experts associate the psychosomatics of neurodermatitis with alexithymia – when a person cannot recognize their emotions. Such individuals are mistakenly perceived as indifferent, apathetic, “thick-skinned.” In this case, the body tries to stir up and involve in the process of feeling.
Stress-induced dermatitis is also common in people who depend on the opinions of others. To heal from this dependence, the body constantly throws up little lessons: sudden redness before an important meeting, etc. However, people rarely understand this and instead blame their body.
The body often follows the desire of an anxious person to avoid social contacts. Then, redness, itching, increased sweating serve as protection from interacting with others.
It’s no secret that people have different types of nervous systems, and emotionally receptive individuals react more painfully to stressful situations. This immediately reflects on their skin condition. Such people are characterized by fatigue, depression, sensitivity, adaptation problems, aggression, introversion, suspicion, self-doubt, an inferiority complex, dissatisfaction with their body and skin. These traits also act as psychosomatic causes of dermatitis.
It’s important to emphasize the dissatisfaction with one’s body and the related inferiority complex. It’s known that the body a person has is not accidental. One is given a body that can help cope with life’s tasks and challenges. Therefore, our body is our closest friend and helper.
What to do?
- Thank God for your body and care for it so that it serves you in good health for longer: keep it clean, dress according to the weather, feed it healthy food, keep it in shape. And do this with soul and gratitude to your body. Then health is ensured for many years. If you don’t love your body, are ashamed of it, it will soon respond in kind, visibly on your skin. Do you need this? Then love your body, as you can’t live without it, and no one else will give you another.
- Follow the principle that a healthy body comes from a healthy Spirit (soul). Remember, emotional pains reflect in body diseases. Therefore, we strive to maintain emotional peace: rejecting negative emotions and welcoming only positive ones.
- Be attentive to your body, listen to its signals and signs, and learn to understand its language. In this case, you can immediately determine that something is wrong and take measures.
These points are hints on the path to healing. However, it doesn’t negate the need for medical treatment of stress-induced dermatitis. On the contrary, by alleviating symptoms, you can calmly deal with your emotional issues and finally resolve the tormenting problem.
Be healthy in Spirit and body!