Psychodermatological disorders: recognition and treatment


  • Financial disclosure: None.

  • Conflict of interest: None.

  • Generic and (Trade) names:

    Alazopram (Xanax)

    Amitriptyline (Elavil)

    Aripiprazole (Abilify)

    Bupropion (Wellbutrin)

    Buspirone (Buspar)

    Cetirizine (Zyrtec)

    Chlorazepate (Tranxene)

    Citalopram (Celexa)

    Clomipramine (Anafranil)

    Clonazepam (Klonopin)

    Diazepam (Valium)

    Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

    Doxepin (Sinequan)

    Escitalopram (Lexapro)

    Fluoxetine (Prozac)

    Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

    Gabapentin (Neurontin)

    Haloperidol (Haldol)

    Hydroxyzine (Atarax)

    Imipramine (Tofranil)

    Isotretinoin (Accutane)

    Levocetirizine (Xyzal)

    Lorazepam (Ativan)

    Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

    Olanzapine (Zyprexa)

    Oxazepam (Serax)

    Paroxetine (Paxil)

    Pregabalin (Lyrica)

    Promethazine (Phenergan)

    Protriptyline (Vivactyl)

    Quetiapine (Seroquel)

    Risperidone (Risperdal)

    Sertraline (Zoloft)

    Trimipramine (Surmontil)

    Venlafaxine (Effexor)

    Ziprasidone (Geodon)

Dr. Philip D. Shenefelt, md, ms
Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery
MDC 079 College of Medicine
University of South Florida, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
FL 33612


Many dermatological disorders have a psychosomatic or behavioral aspect. Skin and brain continually interact through psychoneuroimmunoendocrine mechanisms and through behaviors that can strongly affect the initiation or flaring of skin disorders. It is important to consider these mind-body interactions when planning treatments for specific skin disorders in individual patients. Mind-influencing therapeutic options that can enhance treatment of skin disorders include standard psychotropic drugs, alternative herbs and supplements, the placebo effect, suggestion, cognitive-behavioral methods, biofeedback, and hypnosis. When individual measures do not produce the desired results, combinations of drugs or addition of non-drug therapies may be more successful. Psychophysiological skin disorders may respond well to non-drug and drug therapies that counteract stress. Treatment of primary psychiatric disorders often results in improvement of associated skin disorders. Psychiatric disorders secondary to skin disorders may also require treatment. Therapeutic options for each of these are discussed.