Ekbom’s Syndrome (Delusional Parasitosis)

Ekbom's Syndrome

This article elaborates the Ekbom’s Syndrome disorder. All necessary information will be included in this article. Ekbom’s Syndrome disorder is called Delusional Parasitosis. In this disorder, the skin of people is infested parasites. In this state of confusion, the individual starts removing the parts of their skin. It might be an organic or psychiatric disease. These patients are seeking medical support for such a long time. 

Ekbom's Syndrome (Delusional Parasitosis)

Ekbom syndrome is also known as delusional parasitosis or acarophobia. This is a psychiatric disorder that is mainly characterized by the conviction of a patient that both genders are infested with parasites. This disorder is a state of obsessive phobic, and the patient commonly thinks this way. 

What is Ekbom’s Syndrome 

The disorder of Ekbom’s Syndrome is a skin disorder. In this disorder, people feel the sensation of severe itching, irritation, and crawling as the individuals feel like everything is happening in real. People try to get rid of these sensations, and for that, they usually hurt themselves just like they scratch, and their skin becomes mutilated enough that at the end causes ulcers or sores.

These sores, later on, get infected. People start applying different products of disinfectants and chemicals on their skin for preventing the infection. But all the products and chemicals are not suitable for skin that will, in the end, cause allergic reaction and irritation in the skin. 

Some people severe become the patients of an illness anxiety disorder by facing Ekbom’s Syndrome. This is formerly known as the disorder of hypochondriasis. There are many people with Ekbom’s Syndrome who also have a mental disorder that mainly includes depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, or obsessive-compulsive disease. When people take a lot of drugs like alcohol, cocaine, or methamphetamine can also lead to Ekbom’s Syndrome.

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Signs and Symptoms of Ekbom’s Syndrome

There are only a few signs and symptoms of Ekbom’s Syndrome. The main symptom of this disorder is that the individuals feel like the parasites infest them. The physical symptoms of this disorder include irritation on your skin or feel like insects are crawling on your skin and the sensation of insects. 

Now let’s have a look at some of the common signs of Ekbom’s Syndrome are mentioned as under.

Matchbox Sign. 

This disease suffers even more compulsively for gathering the small particles of fiber or skin so that they can misinterpret as giving the proof of an infestation. Patients mostly store these particles as proof to show to their physicians.

Self-Mutilation

Patients will have the skin that is self-infected, and it is because they start itching the skin so badly, and that makes an infection on the surface. The burn marks and scabs appear on your skin. 

This is, on the other hand, a fact that some psychiatric causes are there that are the possible causes of these symptoms. But when they are recommended to see the mental, so they refuse entirely to visit. 

Development of Ekbom’s Syndrome

There are three different contexts in which the disorder of Ekbom’s Syndrome mainly develops. They are as under.

Development Due to Usage of Drugs:

People who use amphetamines, alcohol, or cocaine or some other drugs that are known best for crawling in the skin or insects regularly, the abnormal skin sensation or skin irritation can be sometimes caused due to side effects from different medications like medications for heart, antibiotics, and antidepressants. 

Onset Due to Medical Complication:

Ekbom’s Syndrome disorder can develop a complication in brain disorder that mainly causes disorganized thinking and alters the perceptions. Some of the examples include delirium, psychotic depression, schizophrenia, and dementia. People with the disease of obsessive-compulsive become worried about infestation or contamination.

Abrupt or Sudden Onset:

This disorder of Ekbom’s Syndrome sometimes develops the condition of out of the blue in the mentally healthy people. This Ekbom’s Syndrome disorder develops gradually, and it mostly lasts for years. The ratio of women is more as compared to men getting affected in this disorder. The average age of people becoming involved in Ekbom’s Syndrome is from 57 to 60.

The primary risk factor of this disorder is to become isolated, and it is difficult to bring such people out of the state. Half of the people affected by this disorder found to live alone, and they have very few social contacts as they like to stay alone. No one knew or can figure out the primary causes of Ekbom’s Syndrome. People with this disorder and preoccupation with cleanliness.

The worst thing about this disorder is that patients get so frustrated due to itching, and they use different tools and instruments to remove itching, and for that, they harm themselves. Some of the tools which they apply are pen nip, tweezers, needles, scissors, and other sharp instruments. By using these tools, they fulfill their desire, but it is, on the other hand, really harmful for these types of patients. They can also use it to hurt themselves as well. 

Diagnosis of Ekbom’s Syndrome

Ekbom’s Syndrome sometimes becomes difficult for doctors to diagnose. It is because there are some of the skin disorders that also cause the sensation of itching, such as allergies, real parasites, and dermatitis, etc. Sores or skin irritation also created when a person scratches hardly on the skin when you apply the chemicals on your skin after itching so that it will look like a skin disorder.

Well, a physical examination is mostly the first step for determining whether it is a regular skin infection or infestation. Physical Review and blood tests most helpful in diagnosing the infection or infestation. Some other diseases also occur sometimes that includes diabetes or liver disease. This can also damage the nerves in the body, and it will contribute to developing the abnormal sensation.

The diagnosis of doctors about Ekbom’s Syndrome is commonly based on a person’s history. Investigating the patient’s history includes any mental disorder or previous usage of drugs. The doctors recommend blood tests and skin scrapings to figure out the real diseases and infestation. On the other hand, an examination by the psychiatrist will also be conducted. And it will be beneficial in determining the condition, whether it is a mental illness or delusional parasitosis. The options for treating this disorder of Ekbom’s Syndrome are limited.

Treatments of Ekbom’s Syndrome

When the individual is diagnosed with Ekbom’s Syndrome disorder, then the treatment is required for curing the disease. There are two different ways of treating the disorder are given as under.

· Psychiatric therapy

By doing the treatment by psychotherapy helps people recovering from the disorder that is around10 in 1 person. The doctors who have done specialization in skin disorders and psychiatric can treat this disorder correctly. 

The other name of skin specialists is dermatologists. The dermatologist will deeply evaluate the disease and figure out things thoroughly. They want to make sure that whether no such parasites are existing. If there are no parasites, then the patient will be transferred to the psychiatric for treating the delusion.

· Antipsychotic drugs

The antipsychotic drugs are beneficial and useful for treatment, such as haloperidol and risperidone. Many people do not prefer to consult a psychiatric, and it is kind of tough to convince them for the first visit. 

They prefer to visit the physician and the dermatologist for finding the way of treatments if the psychotherapists are dealing with the Ekbom’s Syndrome, so the doctor must prescribe the medication to the patient with very low potency for curing the psychological disorders. 

One other helpful way for treating the Ekbom’s Syndrome is that to remove the distress of the patient or try to give relief to the patient. There are different options through which you can assist the patient mentally. Many patients become mentally depressed, and it due to this disorder, so it also helps when you give them psychological treatment, and that will help in releasing their anxiety and level of depression. 

Most people become frustrated, and they want to hurt themselves or by committing suicide. The specialist will observe where the patient is standing and how to treat him by giving complete counseling. These are some of the ways to treat these patients. They can be prescribed with medications of anxiety and depression that will lower the level of depression. 

There are no such ways to treat this disorder, but there are several techniques that can be applied to tackle the worst situation of the patient. This disorder can be treated by using the disciplinary approach. But it is difficult to remove this thought from their minds is that there are insects or creators in their bodies who are moving and crawling. 

The average age of the disease is around three years, but this was according to the last decades. Now there are no such predictions about the period about this disorder. The patients are required to visit the hospital to meet the dermatologist and psychiatric regularly to cope with the disease as early as possible. 

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Helpful Resources

  1. People suffering from Ekbom’s Syndrome can get complete guidance from
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Conclusion

This article is showcasing a very different disorder that appears on the skin, and people mostly have skin diseases and other mental illnesses while suffering from this disorder. People feel that something is crawling in their body, and they feel the discomfort all the time. They wanted to scratch their bodies, and for that, they use different tools, but there are some of the ways, and by using them, the patient can be better. 

This disease is common among both genders. By using psychological therapy, you can cure this disease that is harmful. There is no such treatment that has been announced for this disorder but this disorder has become really common now dayus like the average is every one person out of 10 people.

FAQ

What causes delusional parasitosis?

The leading cause of this disorder is that there are parasites infest, and people feel like hell irritation and seems like something is crawling on them. 

What drugs cause delusional parasitosis?

Cocaine, a medicine that is used for skin allergy, etc. quickly causes the disorder, and people also become mentally if they get involved in it.

How do you get rid of delusional parasitosis?

Psychological therapy and prescribed medicines for depression and anxiety will help in curing the disease.

What is Ekbom’s delusional parasitosis?

This disorder parasitoids on its own. There is no such way for increasing it.

What is Ekbom’s syndrome?

There is mostly a skin allergy that causes this disorder.

What causes tactile hallucinations?

If the skin gets rash or crawling if the animal will become the cause of the disorder.

Resources

  1. Ectoparasitosis or Ekbom syndrome?
  2. Ekbom Snydrome
  3. Delusions of infestation
  4. Ekbom syndrome II
  5. Secondary Ekbom Syndrome to organic disorder: report of three cases

Ekbom's Syndrome (Delusional Parasitosis)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.

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