What can I do about the sensation of invisible bugs crawling under my skin?Skin, Hair & Nails Mental Health
I have invisible bugs crawling in my hair, eyes, ears and body. I suspect these are springfields and they jump onto my eyelashes and at times, i can feel them crawling in my eyes. I know this sounds ridiculous and i find it unbelievable as well. I read somewhere in the web that bathing in vinegar helps. Are there any other methods to get rid of these pests? I felt tired easily and temperamental – think this is due to lack of sleep as the bugs kept me awake… is there anything i can eat/drink to flush these out? Please help. thanks.
Thank you for asking such a fascinating question.
I have seen such cases in my practice. There are patients who would come to the clinic with plastic containers of their skin tissues in them, insisting that the doctor send the tissues for further examination under a microscope. Very often, results from the microscopic examination show that there are no parasites or insects embedded in the skin tissues.
It can be quite a tormenting problem to have and many individuals suffer for many months. They dare not share their concerns with others as the bugs cannot be seen and they fear that others will think that they are crazy. Some patients even resort to getting rid of the parasites and insects in their own ways and that create even more harm to their skin and body. I understand that your sleep is also adversely affected. Hence the importance of seeking early treatment from a professional who can understand what you are experiencing.
You can seek treatment from the National Skin Centre. The other alternative is to seek help from a psychiatrist. Like what you say, the bugs are invisible, so what you experience may be a tactile hallucination. Medicine can be used to suppress the hallucination and correct the accompanying false belief that follows the sensation.
Do take good care of yourself. I wish you a speedy recovery.
Hi Hippy – go to see your GP as soon as possible to find out the cause and treatment.
Broadly, the 3 causes of the bug crawling sensation you’ve described can be due to:
1. You actually do have a skin infestation.
Bed bugs are a common cause of skin infestations, usually spread by beddings. I’d suspect this, especially if other family members who live with you/visit also suffer from similar symptoms.
Other skin infections like scabies and tics (if you have pets) are also possible.
2. Formication (the sensation of crawling insects)
The sensation of crawling insects (without actually there being insects) on your skin is called formication.
Formication is a tactile hallucination, with the word derived from Latin – “formicare” meaning to creep like an ant.
The most common cause of this is severe alcohol withdrawal. This is a concerning symptom in patients as it’s associated with deadly seizures.
Formication can also be a manifestation of some psychiatric illnesses. Given the troubles/lack of sleep/stress you’ve been experiencing, it’s important for your doctor to assess your mental state and mental health as well.
Formication is also a known side effect of certain medications, substance abuse, and nervous system disorders such as diabetic neuropathy and diseases of the spinal cord/peripheral nerves.
3. You have some other medical condition which causes skin itching
Common causes include dry skin, thyroid problems and liver problems.
Hence, my advise for you to visit a doctor ASAP.