Psychodermatological disorders

by Dr Ditesh Dhaya, Dr Sanju George and Professor Femi Oyebode


Last reviewed: April 2018


The skin is the largest organ of the body covering a surface area of 1.5 to 2 square metres in the average adult. It plays a vital role in the interface with external elements and because of its visibility has tremendous social significance. The skin and the nervous system share a common embryonic origin from the ectoderm and hence pathology in one organ system is likely to affect the other.


The purpose of this module is to alert the clinician to potentially treatable psychiatric disorders that may underlie some dermatological disorders and to review the salient clinical features and psychiatric treatments that have been reported to be effective.


It is estimated that approximately one third of dermatology patients have some type of associated psychiatric or psychological problem. Effective management involves an integrated approach to the patient, including consideration of associated emotional factors (Gupta et al, 1996).


Psychiatric intervention is often the most crucial element in the treatment of these patients. However, many of these patients lack insight into the possible psychogenic origin of their symptoms and are often reluctant to accept a psychiatric referral.


Start the module 



If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Complementary and alternative medicine in psychiatry by Dr Ursula Werneke


Physical healthcare in severe mental illness by Dr Steve Brown


Psychosocial management of self-harm by Prof Patricia Casey and Dr Alexandra Pitman


Essentials of Physical Health in Psychiatry (book from RCPsych Publications)



Download take-home notes to print and annotateDownload take-home notes to print and annotate

© 2021 Royal College of Psychiatrists