Somatic symptom disorder in dermatology

James L. Levenson, Aditi A. Sharma, Alex G. Ortega-Loayza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is defined by the prominence of somatic symptoms associated with abnormal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the symptoms, resulting in significant distress and impairment. Individuals with these disorders are more commonly encountered in primary care and other medical settings, including dermatology practice, than in psychiatric and other mental health settings. What defines the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as abnormal is that they are excessive, that is, out of proportion to other patients with similar somatic symptoms, and that they result in significant distress and impairment. SSD may occur with or without the presence of a diagnosable dermatologic disorder. When a dermatologic disorder is present, SSD should be considered when the patient is worrying too much about his or her skin, spending too much time and energy on it, and especially if the patient complains of many nondermatologic symptoms in addition. The differential diagnosis includes other psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders, delusions of parasitosis, and body dysmorphic disorder. This paper describes SSD and its applicability in dermatologic practice, with illustrative cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-251
Number of pages6
JournalClinics in Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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