Our skin and brain have a common embryological origin. Because of this, some of the skin disorders have psychological phenomena. Hence, understanding the interaction of mind and body is of utmost importance. This article explains the same in detail.
Dermatological conditions are responsible for a significant source of the social stigma in our modern society. This leads to the development of psychiatric illnesses, like depression and anxiety. Stress is an important factor in the etiology of various psychocutaneous disorders; it can be environmental, physical or psychological factors.
A few skin conditions with psychiatric illness are discussed here for further understanding.
Delusions of Parasitosis:
Delusional parasitosis is a primarily a psychiatric disorder. These patients had a false belief that they are already infested with some parasite and bring them with bits of skin scales, lint and other specimens to prove their existence. These patients need to be treated by a psychiatrist.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder:
In this disorder, patients have preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance, such as thinning of hairs, large nose, small genitals and breast, excessive greasiness of the face, persistent burning sensation in the face, etc. In all such patients an interview is required with the treating psychiatrist to know the depth of illness and treat accordingly with antipsychotic medicine.
This results from repetitive and compulsive desire to pick, scratch or rub the skin. In this condition, the patient is aware of the activity, but unable to stop this. Unlike dermatitis artefecta, this can be expressed of obsessive-compulsive pathology or a symptom of depression. Dermatological treatment is symptomatic only.
Patients of this illness are notorious hospital hoppers. They present with a dramatic and false story of illness in successive visits to hospitals and OPD (outpatient department).
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy:
This is usually seen in pediatric practice where the illness is fabricated by the mother. It is also seen in dependant persons like old and the handicapped where the illness is fabricated by their caretaker to get rid of them.
These illnesses stress about the fact that only treating dermatological illness is not sufficient in all skin diseases. We must read and understand the psyche and need of the patient before giving some treatment.
To know more about the link between skin disorder and psychiatric illness, consult a dermatologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist
Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018 - 2 min read
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