Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2009 Oct;22(4):690-732. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00018-09.

Delusional infestation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy III, University of Ulm, Leimgrubenweg 12, 89075 Ulm, Germany. roland.freudenmann@uni-ulm.de

Abstract

This papers aims at familiarizing psychiatric and nonpsychiatric readers with delusional infestation (DI), also known as delusional parasitosis. It is characterized by the fixed belief of being infested with pathogens against all medical evidence. DI is no single disorder but can occur as a delusional disorder of the somatic type (primary DI) or secondary to numerous other conditions. A set of minimal diagnostic criteria and a classification are provided. Patients with DI pose a truly interdisciplinary problem to the medical system. They avoid psychiatrists and consult dermatologists, microbiologists, or general practitioners but often lose faith in professional medicine. Epidemiology and history suggest that the imaginary pathogens change constantly, while the delusional theme "infestation" is stable and ubiquitous. Patients with self-diagnosed "Morgellons disease" can be seen as a variation of this delusional theme. For clinicians, clinical pathways for efficient diagnostics and etiology-specific treatment are provided. Specialized outpatient clinics in dermatology with a liaison psychiatrist are theoretically best placed to provide care. The most intricate problem is to engage patients in psychiatric therapy. In primary DI, antipsychotics are the treatment of choice, according to limited but sufficient evidence. Pimozide is no longer the treatment of choice for reasons of drug safety. Future research should focus on pathophysiology and the neural basis of DI, as well as on conclusive clinical trials, which are widely lacking. Innovative approaches will be needed, since otherwise patients are unlikely to adhere to any study protocol.

PMID:
19822895
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2772366
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk