The borderline syndrome in psychosomatic dermatology Overview and case report

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The borderline syndrome is one of the most severe disturbances of psychosomatic dermatology. Patients with borderline syndrome are situated ‘on the border’ of psychosis, neurosis and personality disorders. The skin as a borderline organ carries a symbolic role. The clinical picture includes artefactual skin diseases due to self-mutilation by conscious or unconscious cutting, and rubbing, scratching or para-artefactual manipulations of pre-existing dermatoses. Leading symptoms of the borderline syndrome are poor impulse control, emotional instability and poor ego strength with low frustration tolerance and unstable personal relationships. We present the case of a 38-year-old female patient with borderline syndrome suffering from para-artefactual skin diseases of the face and a massive hyperhidrosis of the hands and feet. Within 9 months she was treated in four acute psychiatric hospitals and by 12 psychiatrists and psychotherapists. Early and accurate diagnosis and high-quality, sophisticated long-term therapy are necessary.

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