Formication – Symptoms, Causes, And Diagnosis

Formication – Symptoms, Causes, And Diagnosis

With the passing of time, medical science develops more and more to control and manage various health conditions. Today, many of the past ‘killer diseases’ are no longer a threat as there are many treatment options now.

However, there are some conditions that the scientists have not been able to understand, let alone manage. You would be surprised to know that some people have such unique health issues.

Everyone knows about diabetes and different types of cancers. But there are also other, not potentially deadly, but disturbing health problems that can affect the quality of life greatly.

A good example of such health conditions is psychological problems. Unfortunately, mental and psychological problems are still a big taboo in the majority of the societies. As a result, many people are even afraid to seek out professionals health, especially for conditions that are not as common.

Problems such as schizophrenia are well-known. Many are also aware that the patients of this condition need immediate medical attention after the diagnosis for proper and effective treatment on time.

On the other hand, people who have psychological conditions like formication may not have the same options. In fact, formication in people would not be considered an issue by a big number of people but it can greatly impact a person’s life.

What Is Formication?

The word formication comes from the Latin word Formica which means insect. The term literally refers to a sensation of insects crawling on top or under the skin. What does this mean? No, this does not mean that there are literal bugs going up and down on a person.

Formication is actually a type of tactile hallucination. This means the affected person feels a physical sensation but without any physical cause for it. This particular feeling further leads to itching that can be bad enough to disturb a person’s life completely.

This feeling can also be different at times and may intensify during the night time. Formication or any other sensation on the skin without a physical trigger is a form of paresthesia. It can also include other feelings like cold, burning, numbness and tingling.

There can be a number of reasons for experiencing formication. The condition is connected with other medical issues as well as substance and drug withdrawal. Following are some of the conditions linked to formication:

  • Anxiety
  • Skin Cancer
  • Schizophrenia
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Shingles
  • Perimenopause
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lyme Disease
  • Diabetic Neuropathy

Formication may also be the result of low estrogen levels during both menopause and perimenopause. In addition, withdrawal from several drugs such as opiates may also lead to formication. Other drugs include:

  • Cocaine
  • Ritalin
  • Lunesta
  • MDMA
  • Opiate pain medicines
  • Methamphetamine
  • Antidepressants like SSRIs
  • Heroin
  • Wellbutrin
  • Tramadol

Formication in drug withdrawal stages is usually not that intense. It also goes away on its own with time. However, sometimes people may experience severe formication which can make them believe they actually have infestations of bugs inside their skin.

This is due to drug psychosis. Also, alcohol withdrawal may also cause formication. Sometimes, there are other symptoms such as visual hallucinations. So, if the condition continues, it is better to see a doctor.

Things To Keep In Mind

As mentioned before, formication may sound like a minor issue but can actually affect the quality of life. If your condition does not resolve, consult a health professional as soon as possible. Additionally, you should be completely honest with your doctor.

It is important to mention things like any medication you are taking, use of recreational drugs, any other symptoms, alcohol consumption, and when the condition started.

These will also help separate your case from scabies – which is an infection of mites in the skin and you will receive appropriate treatment on time.


Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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