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Observations placeholder

Mad itching - 'sensory hallucinations of pruritogenic stimuli'



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


Many of these effects are not an hallucination but synaesthesia.

This effect is linked with the effects some people have of having insects crawling over them, or of those convinced they have parasites

A description of the experience

Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2011 Jun;30(2):87-92. doi: 10.1016/j.sder.2011.04.006.Neuropathic itch.  Oaklander AL. Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA. aoaklander@partners.org

Chronic itch can be caused by dysfunctions of itch-sensing neurons that produce sensory hallucinations of pruritogenic stimuli. The cellular and molecular mechanisms are still unknown.

All neurological disease categories have been implicated, and neurological causes should be considered for patients with otherwise-unexplained itch. The same neurological illnesses that cause neuropathic pain can also or instead cause itch.

These include shingles (particularly of the head or neck), small-fiber polyneuropathies, radiculopathies (eg, notalgia paresthetica and brachioradial pruritis), and diverse lesions of the trigeminal nerve, root, and central tracts. Central nervous system lesions affecting sensory pathways, including strokes, multiple sclerosis, and cavernous hemangiomas, can cause central itch.

Neuropathic itch is a potent trigger of reflex and volitional scratching although this provides only fleeting relief. Rare patients whose lesion causes sensory loss as well as neuropathic itch can scratch deeply enough to cause painless self-injury. The most common location is on the face (trigeminal trophic syndrome).

Treating neuropathic itch is difficult; antihistamines, corticosteroids, and most pain medications are largely ineffective.

Current treatment recommendations include local or systemic administration of inhibitors of neuronal excitability (especially local anesthetics) and barriers to reduce scratching.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 21767768

The source of the experience

Other ill or disabled person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps