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February 1951

ECZEMA: A Psychosomatic Study

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London.

AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1951;63(2):207-219. doi:10.1001/archderm.1951.01570020041005

THIS STUDY deals with that large group of skin disorders known variously as eczema, atopic dermatitis, neurodermatitis and lichen simplex. It is estimated that one third of all patients with skin disorders have diseases of this group, which are noted for chronicity, refractoriness to treatment and multiplicity of etiological theories. The purpose of this study is to answer the following questions: What type of person has eczema? What emotional factors, if any, precipitate the disorder or cause relapses ? Can psychotherapy help these patients ?

No pretense is made that physical factors are unimportant. Few patients were seen whose skins had not at some time reacted to a harsh soap or a specific allergen. Many were seen who had made good recoveries under routine treatment Many more were seen who had relapsed again and again and trekked from hospital to hospital without lasting relief.

MATERIAL  The 90 patients whose cases

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