Acne vulgaris and depression: a retrospective examination

Authors

  • Elizabeth Uhlenhake BS,

    1. Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
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  • Brad A Yentzer MD,

    1. Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
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  • Steven R Feldman MD, PhD

    1. Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
    2. Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Pathology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
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Steven R Feldman, MD, PhD, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1071, USA. E-mail: sfeldman@wfubmc.eduThe Center for Dermatology Research is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Galderma Laboratories, L.P.

Summary

Background  Acne vulgaris is a common skin disease that affects patients both physically and mentally.

Purpose  To examine the prevalence of reported depression in acne patients.

Methods  Patient information was obtained from a medical claims database and analyzed using the Total Resource Utilization Benchmarks™ process. Benchmarks in this study include: age, gender, co-morbid depression, antidepressant utilization, and acne treatment modality. Depression prevalence in acne patients was compared with general population.

Results  Depression was two to three times more prevalent in acne patients than in the general population, with a reported 8.8% of acne patients having clinical depression. The majority of cases of depression and antidepressant therapy utilization were observed in acne patients aged 18 and over with the highest percentage in the 36–64 age group. Approximately 65.2% of the acne patient population was female, with twice as many reported to have depression as males (10.6% females vs. 5.3% males).

Limitations  This analysis included only patients that sought treatment for their acne and had also reported having clinical depression. This may underestimate the total prevalence of acne and associated depression.

Conclusions  Acne is a disease that affects people of all ages both physically and psychologically. A correlation exists between clinical depression and acne patients, particularly those older than 36. “There is no single disease which causes more psychic trauma and more maladjustment between parents and children, more general insecurity and feelings of inferiority and greater sums of psychic assessment than does acne vulgaris” (Sulzberger, 19481).

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