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September 1951

LICHEN SIMPLEX CHRONICUS AND ITS VARIANTS: A Discussion of Certain Psychodynamic Mechanisms and Clinical and Histopathologic Correlations

Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Dermatology and Syphilology, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Dr. Donald M. Pillsbury, Director, and the Graduate School of Medicine, Dr. Herman Beerman, Chairman.

AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1951;64(3):340-351. doi:10.1001/archderm.1951.01570090087011

IN THIS presentation we will attempt to demonstrate from the clinical and histopathologic standpoint an association between a number of eruptions having in common the element of lichenification. This group includes lichen simplex chronicus and its variants, prurigo nodularis, lichenificatio gigantea, and certain phases of the Sulzberger-Garbe syndrome. We intend, furthermore, to point out that these processes are frequently related to some emotional disturbance. In addition, we shall emphasize that the diagnosis of such psychogenically induced dermatoses often can be made by the clinician on the basis of positive dermatologic and histopathologic findings, rather than by resorting to the negative criterion of exclusion.

Without going into a detailed psychiatric explanation, we shall elucidate some psychodynamic mechanisms that may give rise to these cutaneous changes.

Emotions are part of the basic hereditary equipment for adaptation. They represent the sensory component of visceral responses (mediated by way of the autonomic and endocrine

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