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Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia

On-line version ISSN 1806-4841

Abstract

NOGUEIRA, Lucas S.C.; ZANCANARO, Pedro C.Q.  and  AZAMBUJA, Roberto D.. Vitiligo and emotions. An. Bras. Dermatol. [online]. 2009, vol.84, n.1, pp. 41-45. ISSN 1806-4841.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0365-05962009000100006.

BACKGROUND: On average, vitiligo affects one percent of the world population. More than 75% of the patients have negative self-image on account of the disease. The emotional impact of the dermatosis is frequently neglected by the caretaker, which has negative influence on therapy and prognosis. OBJECTIVE: To check the effect of vitiligo on patients’ emotions and discuss the mind-body interaction and its impact on the disease. METHODS: In their first medical visit, one hundred patients with various forms of vitiligo answered a question about which emotions were elicited by the presence of the spots. RESULTS: Eighty-eight percent of the patients with spots in exposed areas complained of unpleasant emotions versus twenty-seven percent of those with spots in unexposed areas. The most frequently referred emotions were fear, specifically of expansion of the spots (71%), shame (57%), insecurity (55%), sadness (55%) and inhibition (53%). CONCLUSION: Chronic illnesses generate in human beings a negative experience propitiated by the expectation of suffering. Besides appropriate scientific guidance, vitiligo patients need emotional comfort. Treatment outcomes and patients’ compliance to it, and even their resilience to face occasional therapeutic failures, rely on good physician-patient relationship. At a time when doctors make use of reputable therapeutic resources, it is indispensable that dermatologists become able to evaluate the patient in an integrative fashion.

Keywords : Emotions; Physician-patient relations; Vitiligo.

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