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Compr Psychiatry. 2003 May-Jun;44(3):256-61.

The relation of psychogenic excoriation with psychiatric disorders: a comparative study.

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  • 1Psychiatry Clinic, Bakrköy Research and Training Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.


Psychogenic excoriation (PE), characterized by excessive scratching or picking of the skin, is not yet recognized as a symptom of a distinct DSM-IV disorder. It is a chronic disorder with a high rate of psychiatric comorbidity. The purpose of this study was to compare patients diagnosed with PE and patients with another dermatological disease in terms of comorbid psychiatric disorders. Thirty-one consecutive subjects were recruited from an outpatient dermatology clinic. The control group was composed of 31 patients with chronic urticaria. All subjects were interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R (SCID-I), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS), and Yale-Brown Obsession and Compulsion Scale (Y-BOCS) and also completed a semistructured questionnaire. Current major depressive syndrome was the most common psychiatric disorder in the PE group. There was a statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of current major depressive syndrome (PE group 58.1%, control group 6.5%, P<.01). In the PE group, 45.2% of subjects were diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), while the rate of OCD was only 3.7% in the control group (P <.01). The PE group scored significantly higher on the BDI, HARS, and Y-BOCS. The results of this study point to the close relationship of PE to depression and OCD.

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