Friday, December 09, 2011

Neurotic Excoriations

Abstract: 37 yo woman with few year history of excoriations

HPI: The patient is a disabled 37 yo woman who has suffered with painful sores on face, arms, buttocks, upper back for a few years. She was a trainer of race horses till a few years ago. She has a history of alcoholism. A few years back, she was diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis and hemochromatosis (she gets regular phlebotomies). There is a history of sexual abuse starting at age 14 or 15 which continued for ten years. Thereafter she was in a physically abusive relationship. She is on a Fentanyl patch.

O/E: Fresh and healing excoriations on face, upper back, left earlobe, buttocks.

Diagnosis: Neurotic Excotiations (NE).

Discussion: In my experience, most women who excoriate their faces and bodies in this way have experienced sexual or physical abuse. This is similar to "cutting behavior." NE may be a minor varient of cutting. Adverse Childhood Experiences can manifest themselves in this kind of self-destructive behavior. Her alcoholism may be another expression.

Treatment: These patients are very diffuclt to reach. I started with clobetasol ointment and mupirocin ointment -- these are sometime helpful although one has to be careful not to use for too long on the face. Psychotrophic medications may be helpful. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help but is rarely available for poor patients. The ones who need it the most are those least likely to find a therapist who will help. Patients with NE like this woman are very needy. It can take months to reach them.

1 comment:

  1. It is indeed a sad case. Recently I saw a patient with this condition. She has been suffering from obssessive compulsive personality disorder. Probably more story behind why she became OCD. We know cognitive behavioral therapy could help them, but not readily available for this population of patients.

    Her NE and alcoholism seem to be the strong indications of long-time suppression in her life.


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