Content » Vol 100, June

Clinical Report

Psychiatric Comorbidities in Non-psychogenic Chronic Itch, a US-based Study

Rachel Shireen Golpanian, Zoe Lipman, Kayla Fourzali, Emilie Fowler, Leigh A. Nattkemper, Yiong Huak Chan, Gil Yosipovitch
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-3487


Research suggests that itch and psychiatric diseases are intimately related. In efforts to examine the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses in patients with chronic itch not due to psychogenic causes, we conducted a retrospective chart review of 502 adult patients diagnosed with chronic itch in an outpatient dermatology clinic specializing in itch and assessed these patients for a co-existing psychiatric disease. Psychiatric disease was identified and recorded based on ICD-10 codes made at any point in time which were recorded in the patient’s electronic medical chart, which includes all medical department visits at the University of Miami. Fifty-five out of 502 (10.9%) of patients were found to have a comorbid psychiatric diagnosis based on ICD-10 codes. The most common psychiatric diagnoses were anxiety disorders (45.5%), followed by major depressive disorder (36.4%). There was no significant association of any specific type of itch to a particular psychiatric disorder. No unique itch characteristics were noted in patients with underlying psychiatric diagnoses.


The primary aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses in patients with chronic itch that is not due to psychogenic causes. The secondary aim of this study was to determine whether psychiatric diagnoses have any correlation to specific itch characteristics such as itch intensity, or if there are any psychiatric-specific diseases this patient population is more prone to. This information will not only allow us to better understand the potential factors underlying the presentation of chronic itch, but also allow us to provide these patients with more holistic and complete assessment and treatment in the future.

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