4 posts tagged “light therapy”

The Five Different Types of Psoriasis

Posted November 1st, 2012 by

A photo shared by one of our members, Lissa, who has plaque psoriasis and guttate psoriasis.  Click to read her story!

On Monday, we recognized World Psoriasis Day on our blog, and today we’d like to dig a little deeper into this lifelong autoimmune condition, which can cause skin lesions on almost any area of the body as well as psoriatic arthritis.

Did you know that there are several types of psoriasis, and that they can have very different presentations?  Here’s a quick primer on the five main forms, none of which are contagious.

Plaque Psoriasis
The most common form involves reddish lesions topped with silvery white scales.

Guttate Psoriasis
A fairly common form marked by dot-like lesions that are small, red and scaly.

Pustular Psoriasis
Involves blister-like lesions and intense scaling, often on the palms and soles.

Inverse Psoriasis
Characterized by very red lesions where the skin folds (e.g. armpits, groin).

Erythrodermic Psoriasis
A rare, painful form marked by red, swollen skin and lots of dead skin shedding.

See photos of each type of psoriasis here.

Advanced Search Options for Finding Psoriasis Patients with the Same Subtype, Condition Status, Number of Years Since Diagnosis and More.

If you’re living with a form of psoriasis, find others like you in our growing community of more than 4,800 psoriasis patients. On our Patients page, you can search by type of psoriasis, years since diagnosis, Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) score and more.We also encourage you to add your subtype(s) on your condition history page so that others like you can reach out and connect.

What treatments work best for your particular type – from light therapy to topical corticosteroids like clobetasol?  Trade notes and exchange support with those who can truly relate today.


It’s the Season for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted November 15th, 2011 by

Now that daylight savings time has ended, the days are shorter, and before you know it, it’s nightfall.  Has this affected your mood?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, is a condition marked by a period of depression that occurs during the same season year after year.  In most cases, that season would be fall through winter (when there is less sunlight), but for some people, SAD can occur during spring or summer.

An Example of a Light Therapy Box Used to Treat SAD

One of the best ways to learn “what’s normal and not normal?” with SAD is to compare your experiences with other patients. There are 446 patients with SAD at PatientsLikeMe, with 85% of them female and 15% male.  A commonly reported treatment is light therapy, or the use of a special light box that exposes you to bright light.  This mimics the effect of natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals that positively affects your mood.  (Does it really work?  Check out the 27 treatment evaluations for light therapy that our patients have submitted.)

What’s it like to live with SAD?  Here are some first-hand reports from members of our mental health community, who answered the question “What are your SAD symptoms?

  • “My symptoms tend to be worsening depression and anxiety.  There are no ‘indicator’ symptoms for me – meaning I don’t realize necessarily ‘Oh I’m starting to feel SAD, crap!’  But all of my Major Depressive Episodes (five so far since I was 20) have occurred in November and December.  And looking back, I can see a downward trend in especially depressive symptoms getting worse starting in mid October – such as depressed mood, more frequent crying spells, fatigue, worse insomnia, headaches worsen, weight and appetite changes, and urges to self-injure.  Three of my Major Depressive Episodes led to suicidal thoughts and short hospitalizations.  The other two, I had frequent suicidal thoughts but did not feel in danger of acting upon them.” – Member with panic disorder
  • “[Symptoms are] mild now, but they ran the spectrum from comatose to the walking functional. Kids don’t understand, and our school bus arrived at 6:00 a.m. Needless to say they weren’t hungry, food on the bus = school contraband, so I’d whip up scrambled eggs with cheese and wrap them in a taco shell and tell them to sneak a bite when they got hungry. They just threw them in the bushes for the local dogs to eat. Then I’d watch TV and answer the ever increasing phone calls all day long. If I felt OK, I’d start to prepare for the tornado that was spring.  Nowadays since I don’t have so much responsibility, my symptoms seem mild, but that could change depending on the winds of life events.” – Member with bipolar II disorder
  • “I think it varies year to year in terms of severity.  The March/April period is characterized by an increase in my anxiety levels together with restlessness and restrictive eating. The September/October period is characterized by an increase in my feelings of sadness along with intense carbohydrate cravings and a need to sleep more.  Both periods are marked by problems concentrating.  I notice that the light box really helps with the carbohydrate cravings. I think it might even make me less hungry overall.  It’s not that the cravings go away entirely, but instead they are dampened to the level where I *don’t* find myself eating cookies without realizing how I got them.” – Member with major depressive disorder

Wondering what else they patients have to say about SAD?  Or think you might experience the condition yourself?  Join PatientsLikeMe and take part in this ongoing SAD forum discussion.