Ekbom's syndrome II

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A delusional syndrome in which the patient imagines the symptoms of parasitic infestation of the skin.

Description

A delusional syndrome that often presents in patients with significant cognitive abnormalities, usually in middle-aged and elderly female schizophrenics. The patient imagines the symptoms of parasitic infestation of the skin, most often of the outer rectal area. They feel like bugs, worms, or mites that are biting, crawling, or burrowing into, under, or out of the skin.

While insect phobias involve an irrational fear of insects without the insect bites or infestation actually being experienced, in delusions of parasitosis the patient believes that the bites or infestations actually occur.

The earliest well documented case appears to be that described by Georges Thibièrge (1856-1926) in 1894, although he applied the term "acarophobe." The term” delusions of parasitosis” was introduced in 1946 by J. W. Wilson and H. E. Miller.

Bibliography

  • Georges Thibièrge:
    Les acarophobes.
    Revue générale de clinique et de thérapeutique, 1894, 32: 373-376.
  • K. A. Ekbom:
    Praeseniler Dermat-zooenwahn.
    Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, Copenhagen, 1938, 13: 227-259.
  • L. A. Miller:
    An account of insect hallucinations affecting an elderly couple.
    Canadian Entomology, 1954, 86 (10): 455-457.
  • J. W. Wilson and H. E. Miller:
    Delusion of parasitosis.
    Archives of Dermatology and Syphilology, Chicago, 1946, 54: 39-56.

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