Why Stating There's "No Cure" For Eczema Is Extremely Harmful
Any time I hear someone say there’s “no cure” for eczema, I feel disheartened. I’ve dealt with eczema for over three decades and I don’t think others realize the power of those words. With numerous innovative breakthroughs and increasing treatment options, it doesn’t make sense to keep reiterating that there’s “no cure.” The phrase is harmful, dated, and may not be 100% accurate. Here’s why.
Negative Language Has Power
Language can be a powerful tool. It helps shape how we think about our world and our lives. How we talk about eczema matters and can have an impact on our mental and physical health.
To eczema patients, caregivers, and medical experts, these two words–no cure–help promote the idea of stagnation. When your doctor tells you there’s no cure, it can seem like having eczema means you are stuck, with no way out. It causes hopelessness, and that’s not okay. The truth is, we don’t necessarily know if there’s a cure or not. Every single case of eczema has varying degrees of severity. Some people with eczema find that if they avoid certain foods or other triggers, their eczema disappears. Others may try a medication that clears their skin of eczema and they are flare-free for years. They might consider themselves to be cured, and new patients need to know this is a possibility. Eczema is different for everyone and we shouldn’t place the burden of these two harsh words on every case of a complicated chronic skin condition.
Language Affects Our Mental Health
Dealing with eczema can reduce your quality of life. The skin condition is debilitating and disruptive for those with severe cases. Eczema is linked to psychological and behavioral problems as well as mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. The mindset of “no cure” conditions us to think of eczema in a negative light. Those with eczema become hypervigilant, causing even more stress and anxiety around their condition. This is unhelpful and counterproductive. Instead of working to learn how our skin operates, we resent it, focused on how it’s preventing us from having a normal life. Once again, this isn’t healthy or productive.
Find a Better Phrase
If we’re thoughtful about how we discuss eczema, it can make a world of difference. Alternative phrases to “no cure” can be “developments for eczema are a work in progress,” “treatments effectively relieve symptoms for many patients” or “eczema research is moving forward at a steady pace.” These phrases give hope by eliminating the negative. They allow the sufferers to understand the severity of the condition, without the heavy burden of despair. Rephrasing can help people with eczema reframe their situation–changing their perspective and providing a better outlook on managing their skin. This reminds us to look to the future and appreciate the hard work of experts all over the world.
We can spread the word by advocating for change through support groups, eczema non-profits, or by sending messages to health publications that use these words in their articles. When our doctors use negative language, we can push back and ask that they help us reframe our eczema by adjusting their tone. The more it’s discussed, the faster effective change will come.
Eczema is frustrating, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be grateful. Positive affirmations work and can be a vital part of your everyday habits. We may have eczema, but it doesn’t have us, and we need to remember to be appreciative of all the wonderful things we’ve been given. As the world of medicine is evolving, the language around eczema should, too. It’s never too late to course-correct, and it starts one step at a time.