If you've been using topical steroids for a long time, or years, your skin is most likely addicted to corticosteroids. The sign of addiction is most telling when the effectiveness of the creams is decreasing over time. For example, you need more potent creams and need to apply more often than before, or the creams have stopped working altogether.
The most important things you need to know right now about eczema and its conventional treatment (topical or oral steroids):
- the creams are not a medicine nor cure. they are suppressants and disguise your health condition by suppressing inflammation, or your immune system's response to something undesirable
- topical steroids were never intended for long-term use. two weeks is the recommended maximum time for safe usage.
- the medically confirmed side effects of long-term use: cushing syndrome, skin thinning, skin atrophy, permanent skin damage. the less obvious but probably felt: compromised immune system, poor health, eyesight problems (especially if applied to the face), anxiety/depression, etc
And the most significant, and common, side effect which you're probably experiencing right now, is topical steroids addiction. Your skin has essentially become reliant on the creams and can no longer function normally on their own. If you stop using the cream, you will experience TSW (topical steroids withdrawal) or red skin syndrome. This is a relatively newly discovered medical condition as people with eczema usually use the cream for years without awareness of its potential damage, and are only beginning to be informed in recent years that they are not good for you. Once quitting, they realize the very overwhelming nature of this condition.
Anyone facing the symptoms of topical steroid addiction only has two options. To continue using the creams or to quit, going through topical steroid withdrawal. I must emphasize that this process is an extremely and unimaginably difficult process and should be treated as a serious illness/handicap for an indefinite amount of time. It is also very long with no guarantee of when you will be fine again. However, I do recommend to quit early than later as eventually the topical steroids will stop working and you'll be forced through the process anyway, at a later date and with much more usage time on the record.
What to expect if you do stop using the creams:
- your eczema will spread to a level that is unprecedented before
- red sleeves and burning skin
I recommend you to Google 'topical steroids withdrawal' and note many people's experiences and the pictures which honestly depict the process. The healing time is at least 15-30% of your usage time. This could mean years of healing before you are functional again. This is a very important decision as you cannot work, go to school, or partake in many normal everyday activities and you need a strong support system, social and financial.
However, the general consensus in the topical steroid withdrawal community is that nothing will help, and that only time will heal. I disagree
, and stress that to heal quicker you must do everything you can in your power to restore your health. You must take responsibility to aid the healing process. This means diet, exercise, sleep, and most importantly, emotional/stress management. I had a usage time of 6 years, which would have meant roughly 10 months to two years until I become functional. I became mostly functional by the 6th month. I credit this all to following what this site has recommended: http://eczema-natural-healing.com
as well as researching alternative health solutions.
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