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The Importance of a Support Network for Patients With Atopic Dermatitis


Audrey Dean and her dermatologist, Jennifer Holman, MD, FAAD, discuss the importance of having a network of support when diagnosed with atopic dermatitis.


Jennifer Holman, MD, FAAD: Tell me about how your friends and family [were] when you were at your worst, and then as you’ve gone through this journey where we’ve gotten things under control. Where have your friends and family played a role in this for you?

Audrey Dean: They were super supportive of me. [They would ask me how I was doing and just] check in and everything. Honestly, my coworkers at work were a big help. [I] had a coworker who was also diagnosed with psoriasis [around the] same time I was, so both of us liked talking about how we felt. That really helped. They were still so supportive when it got the worst, when I got the thick plaques on my hair [and] ended up losing basically all my hair. They were still super supportive of me with that. [They’d tell] me, “Hey, it’s going to grow back.” [They would] help me keep a positive attitude, because that was very traumatizing. So, they were really helpful with trying to keep me looking forward and not dwelling on it.

Jennifer Holman, MD, FAAD: That’s a great thing, to have a network. It’s probably another question that we need to be asking some of our [patients with] atopic dermatitis [AD] when they are coming in to see us. And at their worst, it’s reassuring to me when…I know they’ve got a network. But I also need to be cognizant of [who doesn’t] because of the impact it has on quality of life. You need those cheerleaders in your corner to help you as you find the right therapies, get on the right therapies, and get on the journey of becoming better. A key support network is so important. And for those who don’t have friends, family, [or] coworkers [who] are supportive like yours, even finding an online community support group [can help]…. There is definitely hope for patients [with AD]. There are therapies out there, and you’re not [fighting] these battles alone with your skin disease.

Transcript is AI-generated and edited for clarity.

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