DELUSIONAL PARASITOSIS

Description

It is a mistaken belief that one is being infested by parasites

Symptoms

  • Seek numerous opinions from medical providers
  • Exhibit the “matchbox sign”
  • Self-mutilation
  • Steer away from prescription drugs and rely on home remedies
  • Expose themselves to toxic levels of pesticides

Causes

  • Schizophrenia
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Cancer
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Tuberculosis
  • Drug abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological impairment
  • B12 vitamin deficiency
  • Side effects of prescription drugs

Risk Factors

  • Divorced females
  • Drug abuse
  • Stress
  • Unemployment
  • Compulsive cleaning

Diagnostic Tests

  • Physical examination
  • Detailed case history
  • Skin scrapings
  • Biopsy
  • Complete blood count
  • Chemistry profile
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Mineral and vitamin measurements ( vitamin B12, ferritin )

Treatment

  • Team approach among healthcare providers
  • Psychotherapy
  • Antipsychotic medications (pimozide)

Lifestyle Management

  • Identify the underlying cause(physical or psychological)
  • Long term therapy
  • Empathize with patient’s distress and frustration