[Skip to Navigation]
June 1959

Psychosomatic Concepts in Atopic Dermatitis—a Critique

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, University of Illinois.

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;79(6):692-699. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560180066017

The term "psychosomatic" is a relatively new one, but the concept of "psychosomatic disease" is of ancient lineage. Plato, in his dialogue, "Charmides," has Socrates say, "The great error of our day in the treatment of the human body is that physicians separate the soul from the body." Socrates was right. A man is a man, and he reacts neither psychologically nor somatically but as an integrated unit. Thus, strictly speaking, all diseases are psychosomatic. Such a view, while conceptually correct, is not the most practical; but, unfortunately, neither the term "psychosomatic" nor the boundary of the concept of a "psychosomatic disease" have been precisely defined. Few would be impressed with the relationship of the psyche to the rash of measles; yet many would wish to explore the interconnections of the psyche and the development of neurotic excoriations.

While it seems preposterous to discuss the psyche and

Add or change institution