Is itching psychological

The skin as a mirror of the soul

"The manipulation is supposed to remove supposed parasites and leads to artifacts on the skin," reported Professor Dr. Wolfgang Harth at the annual meeting of the professional association of specialists for psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy in Berlin. He knows such cases from his everyday life in the Clinic for Dermatology and Allergology at the Vivantes Clinic Berlin-Spandau. People with this skin-related delusional disorder are so preoccupied with their delusions that they artificially inflict wounds on themselves and sometimes even prescribe themselves cleaning rituals with caustic liquids or flea cures that are actually intended for pets.


Dermatozoa is a very drastic example of the connection between psyche and skin health, but skin and mental health also play together in other diseases. This interface is the focus of psychosomatic dermatology, which, according to Harth, is divided into three areas: dermatoses of purely psychological origin, multifactorial dermatoses, the course of which is influenced by psychological factors, and finally into secondary mental disorders resulting from serious dermatoses such as tumors. The multifactorial dermatoses include diseases such as acne, atopic eczema, psoriasis, urticaria and hyperhidrosis. With these, it is important to filter out correspondingly sensitive subgroups in order to prevent psychologically triggered flare-ups. "Not every neurodermatitis is always psychological - despite the name," emphasized the doctor.


This was recently confirmed by a Japanese study examining the effect of stress on atopic eczema. The Kobe earthquake served as an external stress factor, whereupon Japanese scientists retrospectively examined 1,457 known patients with neurodermatitis from regions with severe, mild or no earthquake damage. 39 percent, 34 percent and 7 percent of the patients reported worsening, respectively. "One third of atopic dermatitis can be influenced by psychological factors," the speaker summarized the results and added: "However, 9 percent showed an improvement due to external stress." This subgroup, where distraction stabilizes the disease, is what is called "Atopic dermatitis at rest". In addition to a detailed anamnesis by the doctor, patient diaries, in which stressful situations are queried, are suitable to determine the respective type of atopic dermatitis.


Media-induced fashion diseases


Psychosomatic dermatoses, on the other hand, have a purely psychological origin. According to Harth, many of these clinical pictures can be traced back to our society and especially the media. Morgellon's disease, which the speaker also referred to as “socially transmitted disease over the internet” or “cyberchondria”, shows how globalization "transmits" new diseases through the Internet from the USA via Great Britain to Germany. Sufferers complain of itching, tingling or stinging, as well as fatigue or difficulty concentrating and believe that there are fibers in their skin that they need to remove.