Psychological and Social Effects of Hyperhidrosis

Apart from physical discomfort, it comes as no surprise that people with hyperhidrosis also experience emotional and social distress. Excessive sweating interferes and inhibits daily living in many ways; unfortunately, to the point where quality of life is greatly affected. One constantly feels self-conscious and spends a substantial amount of time dealing with the life-inhibiting social issues brought on by extreme sweating.

Social Anxiety

As if sweating profusely is not enough to deal with, it’s often accompanied by social anxiety disorder (SAD) and vice versa. The fear and anticipation of social embarrassment from over-sweating can trigger one to sweat even more, creating an impossible cycle to break. The constant anxiety of sweating too much, in turn affects personal, work, and social activities. Mingling with others becomes an extremely self-conscious situation.

It’s not unusual for sweat to soak through and stain clothes. The need for several changes of clothes a day and the use of aids such as shields, extra padding, and absorbent tissues, become daily strategies to avoid social embarrassment.

For someone with palmar hyperhidrosis, a simple task such as handshaking becomes an emotional event. Often, sweaty palms are misinterpreted by others as a sign of anxiety and for this reason most avoid such situations when possible.

Axillary hyperhidrosis also interferes with one’s performance at work. The anxiety of over-sweating when performing tasks, such as presentations and public speeches, influences one’s work habits. As a result, individuals become less effective or productive because of their condition. It’s not uncommon at all that this directly influences an individual’s choice of career.

Intimate relationships are also affected considerably by excessive sweating. People with hyperhidrosis have difficulty forming personal relationships as it limits one’s ability to engage in such relations, as well as adversely affecting sexual activities.

Clearly, the impact of excessive sweating strongly affects a person’s social functioning. In addition, the stigma and discrimination surrounding the condition can force a person to self-impose isolation.

Emotional Stress

Hyperhidrosis also results in a great deal of emotional stress. Only those affected by the condition can understand the amount of frustration and grief dealt with on a day to day basis. The impairment and disabilities the condition subject a person to can immensely affect them at a psychological and emotional level.

Excessive sweating affects an individual’s confidence, happiness and state of mind, consequently leading them to fall into depression, a very serious psychological effect. Depression is also more likely to occur when the individual chooses to become socially withdrawn for fear of social embarrassment.

Fortunately, the social and emotional costs of sweating too much can be reduced by seeking treatment. While, focal hyperhidrosis respond well to various over-the-counter and prescribed treatment options, generalised hyperhidrosis require an in depth look at the underlying cause or medical condition that it is based on.