Delusional Parasitosis or Ekbom Syndrome

Delusional parasitosis, also known as Ekbom syndrome, is a delusional disorder which causes an individual to believe that he or she is infested with parasites or bugs without any infestation in real. The other name, Ekbom syndrome, came from Swedish neurologist Karl-Axel Ekbom, who wrote seminal accounts of the disease during late 1930s. Contrary to the cases of actual parasitosis, such as scabies etc., in which a skin infestation is present and identifiable through physical examination or laboratory tests, patients with this rare mental disorder have the delusional conviction that small organisms such as mites or insects have infested their skin. Individuals suffering from this condition report a sensation similar to insects crawling on or under their skin. Sufferers may injure themselves in attempts to be rid of the “parasites.” Delusional parasitosis is observed more commonly in women, and the prevalence is much more past the age of 40.