Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Delusory Parasitosis

"I knew I’d been crazy during that period, but I didn’t know I’d been crazy with a condition that had a name, and that although it wasn’t common, it was well known in psychiatric literature. Not just psychiatric literature. Delusory parasitosis is where psychiatry meets academic entomology and pest control."

Author Jenny Diski writes about delusory parasitosis, also called Ekbom Syndrome, a psychiatric syndrome where a person imagines that he or she is being invaded by tiny invisible bugs. As she tells it, it's something that the unsuspecting entomologist or pest control specialist will be unnerved to encounter for the first time!

The entomologist whom she cites, Nancy Hinkle, has written a review of Ekbom Syndrome for Annual Review of Entomology (2010, vol 55: 77-94, doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.54.110807.090514).

(Scratching cat photo: Pavel Ševela / Wikimedia Commons)

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