The change in appearance caused by vitiligo can affect a person’s emotional and psychological well-being and may cause them to alter their lifestyle becoming less active in social activities. Many people experience emotional stress as vitiligo develops on visible areas of the body, such as the face, hands, arms, feet, or on the genitals. Adolescents, who are already concerned about their appearance, can be devastated. It is not uncommon for those with vitiligo to feel embarrassed, ashamed, depressed, or worried about how others will react.
One of the first steps in coping is finding a doctor who is knowledgeable about vitiligo and current treatments and capable of providing emotional support. If depression is a problem, you should let your doctor know, as mental health professionals can help stabilize the emotions. For two reasons it is very important to educate yourself on vitiligo and treatments. First, you’ll want to be able to participate in the decision on which treatment will best fit your lifestyle, and second, a proactive approach will help you regain control of your life rather than allowing vitiligo to make the rules!
One of the most important steps in coping is establishing support with family and friends and talking with others who have vitiligo. Vitiligo Support International provides current information about vitiligo, treatments and research, and provides real time networking with others who have been exactly where you are, feeling the way you feel. Our members can make suggestions on the best ways to camouflage vitiligo until treatment returns pigment. Our message boards and conferences provide unsurpassed support when it is most needed and help return people to an active, happy, productive life.