Psychocutaneous Medicine

Psychocutaneous Medicine Doctors

    UW Health offers psychocutaneous medicine at our West Clinic location in Madison, Wisconsin. The connections between the mind and the skin are the basis of psychocutaneous medicine, which provides patients with a unique combination of dermatology and psychiatry treatment.
    UW Health is among only a handful of medical practices in the nation offering this service.
    A treatment plan for patients with dermatologic disease related to psychiatric or emotional issues may include recommendations for a variety of therapies, ranging from behavioral therapy to ease anxiety to the use of psychotropic medications to control impulses such as excessive hair pulling and skin picking.
    Stress and Relaxation
    In many cases in which dermatologic conditions are worsened by stress, a physician works with the patient to develop relaxation and mindfulness techniques, including:
    • Meditation
    • Breathing exercises
    • Muscle-relaxing exercises 

    If problems are severe enough that anxiety is affecting the patient's livelihood and preventing social interactions with others, then medications to treat the anxiety may also be prescribed.

    Potential Benefits of Psychocutaneous Medicine
    Psychocutaneous medicine treatment can benefit a variety of patients, including:
    • Patients for whom emotional factors such as stress influence the severity of their illness, such as acne, psoriasis and eczema
    • Patients who have emotional complications connected to their skin disease, including depression and anxiety
    • Patients who suffer from excessive hair pulling and/or skin picking due to anxiety or other emotional problems
    • Patients with skin problems secondary to psychotropic medication treatments, such as Lithium
    • Patients with psychiatric side effects of dermatology treatments, including particular acne medications
    • Patients with cutaneous sensory disorders (abnormal sensations of the skin) for which the medical work-up to explain the condition is negative 
    Patients enter the practice through an appointment management system after referral by a physician. The initial appointment is a consult to evaluate the problem during which a plan of care is developed for implementation by the primary care physician or psychiatrist. In some cases, when appropriate, ongoing care may be provided by Dr. Ladan Mostaghimi.
    For more information, contact your primary care provider.