Counseling and Support

Vitiligo patients do not suffer any physical pain or discomfort associated with the disease unless it is part of another autoimmune disorder. So most of the trauma comes with the psychological effects patients have to deal with related to their appearance.  This can have a devastating impact on their quality of life and psychological health of the patient. Clinicians have to fully assess the impact Vitiligo will have on both of these factors and provide therapy which will help them cope with their diagnosis. The uncertain nature of Vitiligo makes the patient’s quality of life and psychological health the most important measure of the overall treatment.

Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one way Vitiligo patients can be helped in coping with this disease. Coping mechanisms will help improve the overall attitude the patient has with his or her Vitiligo. Using cognitive strategies which get rid of avoidance or concealment of their condition is one way to effectively cope with Vitiligo. The method and techniques used to deal with Vitiligo are adapted from other disorders with a long history of efficacy. Along with your doctor you have to choose the best option that will help you deal with your Vitiligo diagnosis. Whether you are a child, adult or family member everyone must address every issue.

Grief

Grief is experienced by Vitiligo patients because when your appearance changes it is perceived as a loss. This loss will trigger the same emotional feelings related to grieving including anger, depression, denial and shock. This part of the therapy has to be dealt with until the patient has adequately resolved many of the underlying issues related to grief. While everyone deals with grief differently in the case of Vitiligo different approaches have to be applied because of the ongoing effect of the disease the patient has to deal with.

Anxiety

Vitiligo is a mystery and not very much is understood about the cause and even less is understood about why some people experience repigmentation in some areas as well as full recovery. This uncertainty is responsible for a state of anxiety that is very hard to deal with for Vitiligo patients. The hope you feel when you see repigmentation in some areas of your body and experience new patches of depigmentation can create a very negative state of anxiety. Support groups or individual counseling must address this issue thoroughly so you can cope with the up and downs of Vitiligo.

Social Avoidance

Isolation is one of the first ways patients with Vitiligo try to use in order to avoid any negative encounters with other people especially if the patches are on visible areas. This is becoming increasingly more common because these days technology makes it possible to work from home. This convenience can isolate a person for an extended period of time. Doctors, family, friends and co-workers should encourage Vitiligo patients not to isolate themselves. Contact with the outside world should be encouraged by everyone to avoid further psychological harm. If you have been diagnosed with Vitiligo and you don’t have a support system contact local groups that deal with identity issues due to skin disorders and join a group.

Social Impact

Our appearance is constantly being judged and Vitiligo patients feel they are more scrutinized because of what the disease does to their skin. The stigma attached to disorders that is misunderstood by the majority of the population can result in discrimination in many different forms. The impact this has on the patient can be very traumatic and these issues must be addressed in any comprehensive therapy.

Age Groups

Although Vitiligo is mostly diagnosed with people less than 30 years of age it can strike at anytime. The behavioral therapies must take into consideration the age of the patient when trying to implement these methods into their lives. While the physical manifestations might be the same the psychological impact will be different with each age group. Find therapists or counselors who have experience within your age group and the specific issues you might have to deal with.

Understanding Vitiligo Treatments

If you have been diagnosed with Vitiligo it is very important to find a doctor who understands the different aspects of this disorder and how it affects the patient. A doctor who is positive and makes it clear that there is a possibility of overcoming this condition will give you hope and help you deal with your Vitiligo. The doctor also must be realistic and provide you with the truth about the prognosis without sugar coating the truth, and the truth is doctors do not know what causes Vitiligo and why some people recover completely.  So if you find yourself with a doctor who is doom and gloom find another doctor with a more positive attitude that takes into consideration all possibilities as well as the well being of your mental and physical state.

Leave a Reply