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Book and Media Reviews
January 3, 2007

Psychodermatology

Author Affiliations
 

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2007;297(1):94-98. doi:10.1001/jama.297.1.97

Medical students and residents are often surprised by the perceived disproportionate time that a dermatologist spends addressing the psychological needs of the dermatologic patient. To explain the inextricably entwined skin and psyche, dermatology mentors may respond with one word: ectoderm. A common germ layer gives rise to skin and the all-controlling brain. This embryologic reality summarily speaks for the oneness of psyche and skin.

Psychodermatology, edited by Carl Walker, PhD, and Linda Papadopoulos, PhD, shows the reader how the skin, our “cosmetic” organ, when diseased or simply perceived as imperfect, can trigger profound psychological distress. Unfortunately, “trivialisation and minimisation” of the distress associated with skin disease is a common reality. The struggles that some individuals with skin disease endure are often overlooked, ignored, or downplayed but deserve attention. The target readership of this book is all health care professionals who treat skin disease. Increased awareness and supportive communication in the clinical arena and greater collaboration between researchers and clinicians interested in psychodermatology are the goals outlined by the authors.

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