Delusional parasitosis, also known as Ekbom's syndrome, is a form of psychosis whose victims acquire a strong delusional belief that they are infested with parasites, whereas in reality no such parasites are present. Very often the imaginary parasites are reported as being "bugs" or insects crawling on or under the skin; in these cases the experience of the sensation known as formication may provide the basis for this belief.
The alternative name of Ekbom's syndrome derives from Swedish neurologist Karl Axel Ekbom, who published seminal accounts of the disease in 1937 and 1938. This term is also used interchangeably with Wittmaack-Ekbom syndrome, another name for restless legs syndrome (RLS). Although delusional parasitosis and RLS were both researched by Ekbom, and RLS sufferers sometimes describe some of their symptoms as if they have, for example, "ants in my veins", they are distinctly different disorders. RLS is a physical condition with physical causes, whereas delusional parasitosis is a false belief.
The false belief of delusional parasitosis stands in contrast to actual cases of parasitosis, such as scabies.
People with delusional parasitosis are likely to ask for help not from psychiatrists but from dermatologists, veterinarians, pest control specialists, or entomologists. Because delusional parasitosis is not at all well known to non-specialists, under those circumstances the condition often goes undiagnosed, or may be incorrectly diagnosed.
Other articles related to "delusional parasitosis":
... House as having delusional parasitosis ... The animated series The Simpsons makes reference to delusional parasitosis in the motto of the Springfield Psychiatric Center "Because There May Not Be Bugs On You" ... Darkly contains a character named Jerry Fabin who suffers from intense delusional parasitosis ...
... Many dermatologists treat Morgellons as delusional parasitosis ... medical examination to rule out known organic causes for the symptoms, delusional parasitosis patients are typically prescribed one of several typical antipsychotic drugs ... Antipsychotics are effective at treating delusional parasitosis at doses as low as one-fifth to one-tenth the dose typically prescribed for schizophrenia ...