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Corticosteroid addiction

Natalie's story of steroid addiction

After having eczema as an infant, it had disappeared for many years until a short cold virus during my second year of university seemed to spring it back into life. It started with a few patches of discoid eczema on my arms, which was treated with mid potency steroid creams. The eczema started to spread quite rapidly, and I suffered from worsening eczema, infections,  several bouts of scalded skin syndrome and one week in hospital suffering from a sever e skin reaction and organ failure that the doctors were unable to diagnose the cause of.

My skin would go through periods of good and bad, and was monitored by my GP’s, who would keep me supplied with the suitable steroid creams and moisturisers on repeat prescription. This continued for many years. Slowly the eczema worsened -it spread to my neck and face, I could not go more than a couple of days without needing to apply more steroid cream. I had to have emollient baths every night, and slather myself in emollient creams twice a day at least. Eventually, the emollient stopped working, and I had to swap to something oilier. The steroid creams became useless, and I changed to a high potency ointment. Still the eczema got worse. Now it burned – especially on my face – to the point where I could not stand any heating near me, and centrally heated rooms, cars and shops were unbearable. See Natalie's full story here


Natalie, UK

From atopic eczema to burning red skin syndrome to recovery: Jo's story of lifelong addiction

What on earth could eczema possibly have to do with addiction? In my case, the two have been fundamentally interlinked since I was a baby.

Like many infants, I suffered from atopic dermatitis – generally known as ordinary childhood eczema. I am - and will always be - susceptible to eczema, asthma and hayfever because I am atopic and have inherited ‘sensitive genes’ from my parents.

Eczema rashes can be really difficult to treat in little ones because sometimes it can be very stubborn even if mum and dad are doing their best to identify and eliminate any dietary or environmental triggers (common irritants are detergents, dust mites and dairy). Usually children just grow out of their eczema and it’s just a case of trying to manage the symptoms in the meantime.

So why did I never grown out of my eczema? Why did it spend nearly 30 years just getting progressively worse? Read the rest of Jo's story here


Jo, UK