Formication is the feeling of having insects crawling over or under the skin. Its name comes from the Latin word “formica”, which means ant. Formication is a tactile hallucination, which means that the person feels a physical sensation, but there is no physical cause. This sensation can lead to itching, which can worsen at night and be severe enough to impact quality of life. Feeling sensations on the skin without physical stimulation is a type of paresthesia, which can also include burning, tingling, numbness, and coldness. Formication is linked to several other medical conditions, as well as withdrawal from certain medications and substances.
Common causes of formation
Formication is the itching sensation when there is no physical cause. Several conditions can cause formation. These include in particular:
– Parkinson’s disease
– Lyme disease
– diabetic neuropathy
– skin cancer
It is possible that the decline in estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause is also the cause of the formation.
Formication can sometimes occur when a person is in withdrawal from drugs, especially opiates. The list below includes some of the drugs that can cause formication during withdrawal.
– opioid painkillers, such as codeine or morphine
– certain antidepressants, such as SSRIs
The feeling of drug withdrawal is usually temporary and should go away when the person recovers from withdrawal. If the sensation persists or is very intense, it may be due to drug-related psychosis. This can lead a person to believe that they have a real insect infestation in their skin. Withdrawal from alcohol can also cause formication. People may also have visual hallucinations, along with other symptoms. It is therefore best to have a doctor or other professional supervise alcohol withdrawal, as the symptoms can be severe.
How to diagnose formation?
It is essential to give the doctor complete and honest answers during the appointment so that he can make an accurate diagnosis. He may want to know:
– any other symptoms present in addition to formication
– at what time of the day the sensations of crawling occur
– what was happening when the sensations started
– if the person is taking medication
– has used recreational drugs
– the person drinks alcohol.
A doctor may also want to rule out the possibility of scabies. Scabies is an infection caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin. They cause extreme itching and leave a rash.
Treatment for the formation will depend on the underlying cause. A topical cream, such as hydrocortisone, may ease the itching in some people. Moisturizers can also help by keeping the skin healthy and hydrated. It may also help to place an ice pack on the affected areas, which can have a soothing effect for immediate relief. If medications are involved, a doctor can usually recommend alternatives. Sometimes an antihistamine can help reduce the feelings of formication.
If formication is related to recreational drug use, quitting smoking and seeking professional withdrawal support may resolve symptoms. If a person suffers from formication, they may be prone to scratching constantly. This can break the skin, which can allow bacteria to enter and possibly develop infections.
Training: to overcome it, talk to your doctor
The formication is the symptom of an underlying affection. A complete treatment of this condition should therefore eliminate the symptoms. The condition can be physical, psychological, or related to the misuse of substances. If the cause isn’t apparent, screening for possible conditions could pick up something that hasn’t yet been diagnosed. Talking openly and honestly with a doctor will allow him to develop a personalized treatment plan to improve the condition as quickly as possible.