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Dissociative identity disorder presenting as dermatitis artefacta.

Dermatitis artefacta is a rare psychiatric condition characterized by rubbing of skin blisters and denial of self-infliction. Dissociation may be comorbid with self-injurious behavior. A background of emotional disturbances during formative years and in later life often results in feelings of isolation and insecurity, which can lead to dissociation as a primary defense mechanism used to overcome traumatic events. In this case report, we describe a female patient with dermatitis artefacta associated with dissociative identity disorder. The patient was a 14-year-old girl. Multiple large, deep ulcerations with unnatural shapes were seen on her left forearm. The ulcerations were thought to be self-inflicted. Psychiatric examination revealed that she had a different identity, and inflicted the lesions when this was assumed. This case leads us to suggest that patients with dermatitis artefacta might have comorbid dissociative experiences, which cannot be identified easily.

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