Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Elevated social stress levels and depressive symptoms in primary hyperhidrosis.

Primary hyperhidrosis is defined as excessive sweating of certain body areas without physiological reasons. Hyperhidrotic individuals report a high psychological strain and an impairment of their quality of life. Thus, the aim of the study is to investigate the relation between hyperhidrosis and different psychological as well as physiological aspects of chronic stress as a co-factor for the etiology of depression. In this study, forty hyperhidrotic subjects were compared to forty age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects. The Trier Inventory of Chronic Stress ('Trierer Inventar zum chronischen Stress': TICS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Screening for Somatoform Disorders (SOMS-2) were used to examine the correlation between primary hyperhidrosis and stress as well as accompanying depressive and somatic symptoms. The cortisol awakening response of each subject was analyzed as a physiological stress correlate. In hyperhidrotics, we found a significant lack of social recognition as well as significantly more depressive symptoms compared to the control subjects. A subgroup of patients with axillary hyperhidrosis had the highest impact on these increased issues of chronic stress, pointing to a higher embarrassment in these subjects. Especially in social situations, hyperhidrotics showed higher stress levels, whereby a vicious circle of stress and sweating is triggered. However, the cortisol awakening response did not significantly differ between hyperhidrotics and controls. Moreover, affected persons suffer from more depressive symptoms, which may be caused by feelings of shame and a lack of self-confidence. This initial study provides an impetus for further investigation to reveal a causative relationship between hyperhidrosis and its psychological concomitants.

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