J Am Acad Dermatol 2013 Jan 3;68(1):47-52. Epub 2012 Sep 3.
Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.
Background: Dermatologists provide the bulk of psychocutaneous care; however, recent studies suggest that dermatologists believe they are largely underprepared to treat most psychocutaneous conditions.
Objective: We sought to identify gaps in psychodermatologic knowledge among practicing dermatologists in two academic institutions.
Methods: An online survey was sent to 59 dermatologists at the Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA) and Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, MA) from July 2010 through October 2011.
Results: The response rate was 40 of 59 (68%). More than 50% of dermatologists were comfortable making diagnoses for 8 of 10 psychocutaneous disorders. In all, 57% were comfortable making a diagnosis of depression. A total of 11% were comfortable starting antidepressants; 3%, antipsychotics; and 66%, medications for neuropathic pain. In all, 72%, 68%, and 21% of dermatologists never prescribe antidepressants, antipsychotics, or medications for neuropathic pain, respectively. Only 38% believed they were successful treating compulsive skin picking; 15%, body dysmorphic disorder; 27%, delusions of parasitosis; and 24%, depression.
Limitations: Limitations include small sample size, data extraction from an academic setting, self-reporting of outcome measures, and response bias.
Conclusion: Although the majority of the physicians surveyed believed they were capable of diagnosing psychocutaneous disease, very few were comfortable starting psychotropics or thought they were successful treating such conditions.