Hyperhidrosis, Anxiety, and Depression: How Strong is the Link?
Primary hyperhidrosis (HH) refers to uncontrollable sweating in a symmetric distribution in the hands, feet, axillae, or facial areas often without any thermal, physiologic, or mental stimulation. Because HH can negatively impact quality of life, patients with HH report some mental distress symptoms such as anxiety and depression. However, there is conflicting information whether the prevalence of mental distress symptoms is different between patients with and without HH.
To address these conflicting reports, a recent study evaluated 2,017 participants using standardized anxiety and depression questionnaires. The study examined whether the severity of HH is correlated to anxiety and depression. In addition, the authors sought to elucidate if the association between HH and depression or anxiety is independent of other factors such as patient’s demographics and presenting skin conditions. The results showed that in fact, anxiety and depression are much more prevalent in patients with HH than without HH. Anxiety was reported for 23% of patients with HH versus 7.5% in those without; depression was reported by 27.2% of HH patients versus 9.7% of those without.
There was a positive correlation between HH severity and increased prevalence of anxiety and depression. In addition, the stronger negative impact the patients with HH feel, the higher the prevalence of anxiety and depression. Multivariable analyses demonstrated that the HH-associated increase in anxiety and depression prevalence was independent of other variables, including gender, BMI, age, ethnicity, and diagnoses of patients presenting skin conditions. The authors conclude that because HH is strongly associated with depression and anxiety in a severity-dependent manner, the assessment and management of anxiety and depression should be an essential component in the management of patients with HH.
Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C
Posted: December 22, 2016
Adapted from the original article.
[Image: DermNet New Zealand]