How can people cope with the emotional and psychological aspects of vitiligo?
The chronic skin disorder of Vitiligo is not harmful medically nor physically painful, but it can be quite devastating for some suffering from it in terms of psychological and emotional effects. Especially in countries like India and other third-world nations, those with the disease, mainly women, are sometimes discriminated against in marriage. For some, developing Vitiligo after marriage has also been the grounds for divorce.
White patches of Vitiligo can affect emotional and psychological well-being and self-esteem of anyone, regardless of his/her race and culture. People suffering from Vitiligo are likely to experience emotional stress, particularly if the condition develops on visible areas of the body including face, hands, arms, and feet, or on the genitals. Teenagers, who are often particularly concerned about their appearance, can be distressed by widespread Vitiligo. Some people who have Vitiligo feel depressed, embarrassed, ashamed, or worried about how others will see them and what will be their reaction.
Nevertheless, there are several ways to help people cope with Vitiligo. Also, there are various treatments available that can minimize, camouflage, or, in some cases, even eliminate white patches from a personís body. The most important thing to do first is to find a doctor who is knowledgeable about the disorder and takes it seriously. He should also be a good listener and be able to provide emotional support. You must let your doctor know if you are feeling depressed, because doctors and other mental health professionals can help people deal with depression. You should also learn as much as possible about the disorder and treatment choices so that you can participate in making important decisions about your medical care.
Another thing that might work for a Vitiligo patient to cope with his/her condition is to talk with other people with Vitiligo. You can find support groups of patients, families, and doctors to discuss this with. Family and friends are another source of support.
Some people with Vitiligo have found that cosmetics that cover the white patches improve their appearance and help them feel better about themselves. You may need to experiment with several brands of concealing cosmetics before finding the product that works best.