Functional symptoms in dermatology: Part 2

S. L. Ball (Lead / Corresponding author), C. Howes, A. G. Affleck

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Functional disorders within dermatology present as various constellations of skin symptoms, but without evidence of organic pathology. Examples can include mucocutaneous pain syndromes, functional pruritus, somatoform pain disorder and rarer entities, such as undifferentiated somatoform idiopathic anaphylaxis and multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome. These conditions can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life, and can present challenges in communication, investigation and management. The aetiology of functional disorders is not fully understood, but with an effective collaborative approach, a psychological explanation for these symptoms is often found. A structured approach to assessment can lead to a confident diagnosis, and understanding a patient’s belief system and the impact of symptoms on their functioning can give better grounding for successful management. Treatment is dependent on the level of the patient’s engagement with healthcare professionals, and often takes a measured and rehabilitative approach. Psychological therapies have been shown to be effective, often alongside both psychopharmacological and topical medications.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)20-24
    Number of pages5
    JournalClinical and Experimental Dermatology
    Issue number1
    Early online date29 Aug 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2019

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Dermatology


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