Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help Psoriatic Arthritis


Marijke Vroomen Durning, RN

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Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects up to 30% of people with psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that targets the skin. As with other types of arthritis, psoriatic arthritis causes joint pain and can eventually cause damage to the joint. No one knows why some people with psoriasis develop this type of arthritis, and although there are some treatments that manage the disease, they may not be effective for everyone. It’s for this reason that many people with psoriatic arthritis look to complementary therapies that may provide benefits alongside more mainstream treatments. One such complementary treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

What CBT Does

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps change behavior patterns. CBT is known for helping people who live with problems like anxiety or depression, but this form of therapy is also useful in helping people with chronic physical illnesses learn coping strategies. The therapy helps you identify negative thoughts or behaviors and practice ways to counteract them—while you can’t control your pain, you can control how you react to it. Scientific studies have shown that people with chronic pain who undergo CBT have lower pain levels and many also have a lower level of IL-6 in their blood, a protein that increases with pain.

Today, we’ve seen many advances in treating the damage and pain of psoriatic arthritis. Watch as experts share the advice they give patients for managing the condition.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Apr 29, 2017

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