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Self Injury in Dermatology

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Self Injury in Dermatology
Shelley Sekula MD
Dermatology Online Journal 7(1): 23E

Houston, TX.

Patients who pull out their hair, excoriate, scar, bite, pick and harm their own skin often present to the dermatologist rather than the psychiatrist. It is estimated that up to 30% of all dermatology patients have a neuro-psychiatric disorder that may contribute to their skin disease. Dermatologists should become acquainted with common psychiatric diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, monosymptomatic hypochondriacal psychosis, Tourette syndrome, etc. Emphasis is on clinical office diagnosis, treatment, both pharmacological and behavioral, and when and how to refer. New treatment modalities, such as SSRI's and atypical antidepressants, may allow dermatologists to offer medical intervention without the need to seek the often-unobtainable psychiatric referral.

© 2001 Dermatology Online Journal