Acne Help and Support

Acne sufferers may require not only treatment for acne, but significant emotional support from friends, family or other agencies to help them overcome the psychological disturbance that acne can cause. In rare cases, acne sufferers develop a serious psychiatric disorder, known as acne dysmorphia, which usually requires intensive treatment by a psychiatrist specialising in the condition.

Teenage Acne

People sometimes refer to acne as ‘the scourge of adolescence’. Acne is an extraordinarily common skin condition in adolescence and the most frequent cause of ‘teenage spots’. The fact that teenage acne is so common has unfortunate consequences. Some people consider that acne sufferers should simply ‘pull themselves together’ Some people, and this sadly includes a few doctors, consider that acne is just a normal part of growing up. In their eyes, acne sufferers do not deserve sympathy or require treatment, but instead should simply ‘pull themselves together’ and wait till they ‘grow out of it’. This attitude towards acne belittles a serious, though rarely life-threatening, medical condition, severe cases of which may require intensive and prolonged treatment by a dermatologist - a doctor specialising in skin diseases. Even mild cases of acne involve the formation of unsightly, irritating spots that cause physical discomfort, are messy and unpleasant and may, in addition, cause emotional or psychological disturbance.

Seeking Acne Help

Acne help

Most people with acne will known how to access local medical services in order to receive treatment for the physical symptoms and signs of their condition. Many acne sufferers will choose not to consult a doctor, either because they do not consider that their acne warrants treatment or because they feel confident about using over the counter acne medication and managing their own treatment. Some people with acne will recognise that they both require and would benefit from specialist acne treatment, but will avoid a medical consultation because they have an aversion to doctors, or hospitals, or both. This condition often follows some earlier, traumatising encounter with a member of the medical profession and is the natural result of such an experience. Acne charities and acne support groups are both useful sources of advice and support for acne sufferers who want to avoid the medical treatment route. Both have a wealth of experience of interacting with and helping people with acne, are able to spend a considerable amount of time talking through issues and are in many ways more open minded than doctors in their approach to treating acne. If your acne is so severe that it absolutely requires to be treated by a doctor, acne charities or support groups may be able to help you overcome your medical aversion.

Emotional and Psychological Support

Teenagers have enough on their plate coping with the physical and hormonal changes of puberty and the accompanying emotional turmoil. For some, developing acne is quite literally the straw which breaks the camel's back. Every acne sufferer experiences some form of psychological or emotional reaction to acne Every acne sufferer experiences some form of emotional or psychological reaction to their condition. It is entirely natural, if your face has suddenly turned into an angry explosion of zits, that you will feel more self-conscious, less attractive and lacking in confidence. For most acne sufferers the support provided by friends, many of whom will be undergoing a similar experience, and family members will be sufficient. However, many teenagers find it difficult to talk to parents or other family members about personal or emotional problems and prefer the support offered by acne charities or support groups. The important thing is that every acne sufferer should feel that they have someone receptive and non-judgmental to whom they can speak freely about both the physical and emotional aspects of their condition.

Psychiatric Intervention

In a few cases of acne, the patient develops a very serious psychological condition known as acne dysmorphia. The severity of the psychological disturbance is often disproportionate to the severity of the acne Acne dysmorphia is a serious condition and patients require specialist forms of treatment - the worst cases of acne dysmorphia are usually seen in teenage girls who have clinically only a mild or moderately severe form of acne. Patients with acne dysmorphia have altered perception both of themselves and of their condition - they absolutely and unshakably believe that their acne is many times worse than it is in reality and that it is causing serious disfigurement. In many respects, the disturbance of acne dysmorphia is akin to the failure of self-perception seen in anorexia nervosa, a condition in which sufferers see themselves as overweight, though they are in fact dangerously undernourished. Acne dysmorphia is a very serious condition and those suffering from it require treatment by either a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. People with acne dysmorphia lack insight into their condition and are often opposed to seeing a doctor. Subterfuge is sometimes required, or in extreme cases sectioning, in order to ensure that the patient receives appropriate treatment in a timely manner.