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Psychodermatology: An Indian perspective

      Abstract

      Psychodermatology, a relatively neglected branch of dermatology in India, refers to a holistic approach to skin diseases involving not only the mind and skin, but also the cutaneous effects of psychologic stress. Among many Indian people, culture, religion, the belief in karma, and the tendency to prefer indigenous medical systems can all have a major impact on lifestyle, as well as the approach to managing various diseases, including dermatologic conditions. The origin of psychodermatology in India can be traced to Buddha’s period. Indigenous medical systems, such as Ayurveda, Yoga, and Unani, advocate control of skin disease through meditation, exercises, and related practices. Scientific practice of psychodermatology is still lacking in India, although there is an increasing understanding of the mind-skin connection among both health care providers and patients who have access to information over the Internet. The first dedicated psychodermatology liaison clinic was established in 2010 in Manipal, India. The common problems encountered have been anxiety, dysthymia, and depression, especially in patients with psoriasis, vitiligo, and urticaria.
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