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Psychotherapy hope for skin disease sufferers

28th August 2012

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have said techniques such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and meditation could help people who suffer from skin diseases.

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The experts said psychological treatments could help some of the eight million people in Britain who have skin problems such as acne, vitiligo, eczema and psoriasis.

The research, which was published in the British Journal of Dermatology, involved a team from Sheffield's psychology department conducting an analysis of other studies.

Deborah Mason of the British Association of Dermatologists said "it has long been accepted that psychological interventions can help patients deal with the emotional impact of their skin diseases. But for the first time, this shows that they can also improve the physical symptoms."

The researchers looked at over 900 people who were involved in 22 studies and confirmed that the treatments which showed the best results were those which helped patients deal with itching and scratching.

Bevis Man, spokesman for the British Skin Foundation, said: "This is welcome news as it adds more weight to the debate that we ought to pay more attention to psychological intervention and its benefits to managing and treating skin conditions."

"It is interesting to see which psychological interventions are most successful and at what intervals, as this hopefully gives an insight into what treatment structures incorporating such techniques may look like in the future."

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