Atopic Dermatitis

Depression/Anxiety are Common, Underdiagnosed With Atopic Dermatitis

Rates of depression and anxiety are significantly higher in individuals with atopic dermatitis (AD) and often go undiagnosed, according to the results of a recent study.

Previous studies have found conflicting results regarding the effects of AD on rates of mental health disorders, according to the study authors.

To explore this relationship, they conducted a cross-sectional, population-based study of 2893 adults (602 with AD and 2291 without). Mental health was assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale anxiety (HADS-A) and depression (HADS-D) scores.

Overall, adults with AD had higher mean HADS-A (7.7 vs 5.6) and HADS-D (6.0 vs 4.3) scores than those without AD, and higher prevalences of abnormal HADS-A (28.6% vs 15.5%) and HADS-D (13.5% vs 9.0%) scores.

“AD is associated with increased symptoms of anxiety and depression, higher proportions of borderline and/or abnormal anxiety and depression scores, and higher proportions of diagnosed anxiety or depression in the US population. Moderate and severe AD were particularly associated with markedly worse mental health,” the researchers concluded.

“It is important for clinicians to recognize that virtually all patients with moderate‐to‐severe AD have symptoms of anxiety and depression. We recommend that clinicians incorporate assessment of mental health symptoms in clinical practice to determine disease burden and screen for patients with symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

—Michael Potts

Silverberg JI, Gelfand JM, Margolis DJ, et al. Symptoms and diagnosis of anxiety and depression in atopic dermatitis in U.S. adults [published online March 5, 2019]. Doi: