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Musaph, H. (1968). Psychodynamics in Itching States. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:336-339.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:336-339

Psychodynamics in Itching States

Herman Musaph


Ethology has taught us that many behaviour patterns in man can be considered as derived activities, of which itching and scratching are examples. Psychoanalytic investigation shows that itching can be a sign of repressed anxiety, repressed rage, and repressed sexual excitement. All aspects of human sexuality can be observed in the skin. Each phase of infantile sexuality can give dermal eroticism its special colour. Patients seen in the dermatological department suffering from fits of psychogenic pruritus have a characteristic personality structure. There is a hunger for contact combined with an incapability to abreact adequately their own tension. This semi-permeability produces anxiety which is warded off. The defence against anxiety must be very strong and itching states arise when equilibrium is lost.

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