What is Formication?
Formication is a medical term used to describe the sensation of insects crawling on or under the skin. The term is derived from the Latin word “formica,” which means ant. Although it is often associated with drug use or withdrawal, formication can also be a symptom of various medical conditions, including anxiety.
Formication can be caused by various factors, including drug use, withdrawal, and medical conditions. Some common causes of formication include:
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in developing and maintaining the nervous system, and its deficiency can cause nerve damage, leading to symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and formication. However, it is essential to note that vitamin deficiencies are just one of many potential causes of formication.
Formication is a common symptom of drug use, particularly stimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and amphetamines. These drugs can cause the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in reward and pleasure. The release of dopamine can lead to a heightened sense of euphoria and energy and a sensation of insects crawling on or under the skin.
Formication can also be a symptom of drug withdrawal. When a person stops using a drug, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, including formication. This is because the body is trying to adjust to the absence of the drug and rebalance its neurotransmitter levels.
Formication can also be a symptom of various medical conditions, including menopause, diabetes, thyroid problems, and peripheral neuropathy. These conditions can cause nerve damage or imbalances in the body’s hormones, leading to the sensation of insects crawling on or under the skin.
Crawling Sensation on the Head?
The primary symptom of formication is the sensation of insects crawling on or under the skin. This sensation can occur anywhere on the body but is most commonly felt on the arms, legs, and face. Some people describe the sensation as tingling, itching, burning, or prickling.
In addition to the sensation of insects crawling on or under the skin, people with formication may also experience other symptoms, including:
- Skin picking: People with formication may feel the urge to pick at their skin to remove the imaginary insects.
- Anxiety: Formication can be a symptom of anxiety, and people with formication may experience fear, worry, or panic.
- Insomnia: The sensation of insects crawling on or under the skin can make sleeping difficult, leading to insomnia.
How to Treat Formication
The treatment for formication depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Suppose formication is caused by drug use or withdrawal. In that case, the best action is to seek help from a medical professional to address the addiction or manage the withdrawal symptoms.
If formication is caused by a medical condition, the treatment will focus on managing the underlying condition. For example, if formication is caused by diabetes, the treatment will focus on managing blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and medication.
In some cases, medication may be prescribed to manage the symptoms of formication. Antipsychotic drugs such as olanzapine and risperidone are effective in treating the sensation of insects crawling on or under the skin.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can also help manage the symptoms of formication. CBT is a talk therapy that helps people identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to their symptoms.
Korean Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine
Several factors can contribute to formication, including water retention and blood stasis. Combining Korean acupuncture with herbal medicine granules may help alleviate the crawling sensation in various body parts.
Here’s a protocol based on traditional Korean Saam acupuncture:
Suppose formication is caused by a medical condition. In that case, the treatment will focus on managing the underlying condition. The sensation may disappear once the state is under control. If formication is related to anxiety, the sensation may go away with treatment for the anxiety disorder. However, formication may persist in some cases even after the anxiety disorder is under control.When I treat crawling sensations, I follow four major categories to select proper herbal formulas.
This mental condition includes various factors such as sleep, emotional state, chest discomfort, and more. The Input reveals the patterns in a patient’s digestive system, while the output indicates aspects like bowel movements, urination, and sweating. Additionally, monitoring the patient’s temperature offers insight into their subjective body temperature. Identifying a comprehensive herbal formula that accounts for all these symptoms makes it possible to address numerous disorders, including the primary complaint, leading to healing.
Is Formication a Symptom of Anxiety?
Formication can be a symptom of anxiety, particularly in people with anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Is Formication Normal?
Anxiety causes the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, leading to physical symptoms such as sweating, rapid heartbeat, and the sensation of insects crawling on or under the skin.
People with anxiety may also be more prone to developing formication due to hypervigilance and hyperarousal. These conditions can cause the brain to perceive normal bodily sensations as threats, leading to an exaggerated response.
In addition, anxiety can cause people to engage in skin-picking behaviors to alleviate the sensation of insects crawling on or under the skin. Skin-picking can lead to skin damage and infections, further exacerbating the symptoms of formication.
Treatment for formication related to anxiety typically focuses on managing the underlying anxiety disorder. This may include medication, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication, as well as therapy, such as CBT or exposure therapy.
What Does Formication Feel Like at Night?
Formication can feel different for different people, but the sensation is generally described as insects crawling on or under the skin. Some people may also explain the sensation as tingling, itching, burning, or prickling.
The sensation can occur anywhere on the body but is most commonly felt on the arms, legs, and face. The phenomenon can be persistent or intermittent and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as skin picking, anxiety, and insomnia.
Will Formication Ever Go Away?
Whether formication will go away depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Suppose formication is caused by drug use or withdrawal. The sensation will typically disappear once the drug use or withdrawal symptoms are addressed.
Disclaimer: This info is for general knowledge, not medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment. Acupuncture should only be done by a licensed professional.
Dr. Kihyon Sohn, an acupuncture and herbal medicine doctor in Beaverton, Oregon, provides effective treatments on formication, crawling sensation on the body, using the combined Korean acupuncture and herbal medicine. Kihyon Sohn Acupuncture is located at 10700 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy Suite 357 Beaverton OR 97005.
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