Exploring the Psychological Profile of Patients with Delusional Infestation
Reena Shah, Ruth E. Taylor, Anthony Bewley
Delusional infestation (DI) is an uncommon psychiatric disorder in which patients present with the false and fixed belief (i.e. a delusion) that their skin and/or their environment is infested despite objective evidence to the contrary. Within psychodermatology specialist clinics there is a high rate of DI referrals. What is not known is the level of psychiatric and psychological co-morbidities associated with DI and whether psychiatric or psychological assessment would be warranted. One-hundred and thirty-eight adult patients with DI attending an outpatient psychodermatology clinic were given 3 standardised questionnaires. The results showed that 81% had a poor quality of life; 52% with anxiety, 41.6% with depression and 49% with appearance-related concerns. This study indicates high levels of psychiatric and psychological disorders in DI which require assessment and appropriate intervention.