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July 1946


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, Division of Medicine of the University of California.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1946;54(1):39-56. doi:10.1001/archderm.1946.01510360043006

ACAROPHOBIA, parasitophobia and dermatophobia are terms employed by English-speaking dermatologists to designate a psychic state in which the patient believes that his skin is infested with some parasite. It has been loosely classified as an obsession, a phobia, a neurosis or a mania. Little attempt has been made by dermatologists or psychiatrists to define it further. The English dermatologic literature is singularly lacking in any observations on the subject. American dermatologists have contributed articles to the psychiatric literature dealing with the cutaneous psychoneuroses, among which the present subject is included.1 The foreign literature contains a few noteworthy articles, one in German, by Ekbom,2 being the most detailed. The disease is much commoner than the paucity of the literature would indicate.

This paper is intended to serve three purposes:

1. To present evidence to show that the term "acarophobia" is a misnomer, and to attempt to suggest a

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