How to Connect with Psoriasis Support Groups
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the immune system that affects 7.5 million people in the United States alone. The vast majority of people with psoriasis develop raised, red patches or scales on their knees, feet, hands, elbows, and even their scalps. Some even develop psoriasis inside their mouths, on their genitals and joints.
They often feel isolated, lonely, anxious or even depressed about their condition. But it helps to find a group of like-minded people. Finding a support group can provide that social and emotional support that they need.
Advantages of a Psoriasis Support Group
For many people with psoriasis, the emotional support provided by a support group is the most compelling reason to join one. Some of the most commonly cited benefits of participation in a psoriasis support group include:
A sounding board. Sometimes you just need to vent your frustrations or talk about your feelings in a safe environment.
Empathy from others. It’s even better to get support from people who know exactly what you’re going through--because they, too, have psoriasis. This support can reassure you and make you feel more connected.
Treatment or management suggestions. A support group won’t provide actual medical advice, but you can glean interesting information about treatment or symptom management strategies that has worked for other people and could be worth exploring.
Other resources. Looking for a new doctor or a therapist? Ask someone in your support group for recommendations.
Find a Support Group in Your Community
So, you don’t need convincing that a psoriasis support would be a great resource for you. But you’re not sure how to actually find one. Typically, you have a couple of options: a traditional support group and a virtual support group.
To get connected with a traditional support group, first look for established groups. Ask your doctors if they’re aware of any psoriasis support groups that meet in your area. Some hospitals may host them, or they could meet at local community centers, churches, or schools. You can also contact the National Psoriasis Foundation to find out if any local chapters operate in your community. MeetUp is another avenue for finding people with your condition who are interested in meeting as a group.
If you come up short, you have another option: start your own support group. You may need to get some help from your healthcare provider in terms of getting the word out to other patients with your condition. You can also use social media to your advantage and spread the word that you’re looking for other people living with psoriasis who are interested in forming a supportive community.
Join an Online Support Group
Perhaps there’s not a traditional support group that meets in your community. Or there is a group but it meets at a time and place that’s not convenient for you. Or perhaps you’re not a joiner in the traditional sense anyway. An online support group may be just the ticket for you.
One of the major benefits of an online support group is convenience. You get to decide when you’re ready to engage. You can work around your own schedule. You can chat with people all over the country who may have similar questions about psoriasis treatments or suggestions for managing symptoms, but you don’t have to attend an actual meeting to participate. Introverts or shy people may also find the prospect of engaging with people online more appealing.
Again, you can turn to the National Psoriasis Foundation, which operates the TalkPsoriasis Support Community. You can also search the numerous psoriasis support communities on Facebook to see if one interests you.
While everyone has their own specific needs, people with psoriasis may find they have a lot in common with other people with the same condition. Finding the right psoriasis support group can be a great way for them to connect, share ideas, and feel a little less alone.