The change in one’s appearance brought about by having vitiligo, and the concern caused by seeing more vitiligo appearing over time in areas such as the face hands and genitals can affect a person’s psyche and self-esteem leading to feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, shame and depression. Social withdrawal and isolation may follow. Adolescents, who are already concerned about their body image, are particularly at risk of developing psychological and social side effects from vitiligo.
It is vital to gain control of your life rather than letting your vitiligo gain control of you! This starts by maximising treatment and discussing your feelings with your Dermatologist. If needed, your Doctor can enlist the help of camouflage experts to mask your vitiligo until treatment has been given a chance to help, or the help of other medical specialists such as psychiatrists or psychologists to help deal with problems of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
Equally important and helpful, is for vitiligo sufferers to reach out to family and friends for support and to make contact with vitiligo groups and organisations where they can be put in touch with people with vitiligo just like themselves, who have felt exactly the same way in the past. (links to support groups)
Utilising this “team” approach, vitiligo patients can return to a happy, productive and positive life.