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Esperienze Dermatologiche 2016 September-December;18(3-4):134-41

Copyright © 2017 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

Pathomimias: the psyche as seen from the skin

Massimo NACCA, Gelsomina RONZA, Cristina AMBROSONE, Luigi BOCCIA

Azienda Ospedaliera di Caserta Sant’Anna e San Sebastiano di Rilievo Nazionale e di Alta Specializzazione, Caserta, Italia


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Pathomimias, or self-induced dermatoses, consist of skin lesions caused more or less knowingly by patients themselves in order to show a state of suffering to people to whom they are indirectly asking for help. It is not always easy to diagnose this disorder and it is often even more difficult to report it to the patients and their family, because a diagnosis of psychiatric disorder is usually harder to accept. Pathomimias represent a challenge for physicians, because this kind of disease does not have a strictly organic etiology, and also because therapeutic success mainly depends on the cooperation between dermatologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and, occasionally, even physicians from other branches of medicine, in order to prevent chronicization and a possible worsening of the disease. Six clinical cases are hereby described.

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