When you hear about in itchy skin problem, what do you think of psoriasis? Perhaps eczema or dermatitis or just plain dry skin? How about an itchy skin problem that comes about because of something called a delusional bug syndrome?
Well, skin doctors get patients like this complaining of bugs under their skin all the time. They brush them off and the patient goes to another skin doctor, and on it goes. Sometimes, they even come with what they feel are samples of the insect in question. They ask for a skin biopsy so that the doctor can discover what bugs are inside their skin.
Well, the doctors can punch holes in those people's skin all over their bodies and they still wouldn't find any bugs. Samples or biopsies they never find any evidence of any kind of a parasitic organism in there.
Doctors, when they look at this disease problem, are reminded of another kind of strange phenomenon that they've come across parasitosis. You can probably tell what the disease is about just to look at the name. That's where people come in complaining of being infected with some kind of parasite that's inside of them. Doctors sometimes actually do the biopsies that those people ask for, and they don't find anything.
When patients with itchy skin sometimes actually bring an insect in and claim that it's the insect that's infesting them, most of the time, they aren't even insects. They're just pieces of dirt. And yet those people can be completely convinced that what they are showing the doctor an insect. Sometimes, they come in with an insect that isn't really capable of causing any kind of head-to-toe itching.
So what is going on here? Why do these people have itchy skin?
In roughly one out of two cases like these, the patient does have a skin disorder that would cause itchiness like dermatitis. But the rest of them have nothing. And anyway, even dermatitis wouldn't explain the kind of maddening itching they complain of.
To the patients, the problem is real enough. You've seen movies, haven't you where they bring people into an ER that have overdosed on drugs? They come in screaming of ants inside their skulls. This kind of proves that if there's an unnatural thing going on with your brain, you can come to believe that there are insects somewhere on your person infesting you.
The itchy skin patients aren't doing drugs. They just have a kind of psychiatric illness that the doctors these days call delusional bug syndrome. The problem is, that when dermatologists tell them to go to a psychiatrist, the patients are outraged and they just walk out.