The term formication is derived from Latin word ‘formica’ meaning ant. Formication is a sensation of having insects crawling/biting on or under the skin. It doesn’t mean that insects are really present which are causing the sensation. It is actually a specific form of tactile hallucination, meaning a false perception of touch in the absence of any external stimulus or physical cause for it. These help in reducing the intensity and frequency of this sensation gradually. Homeopathic medicines for formication help in reducing the intensity and frequency of this sensation gradually.
In some cases the sufferer has a fixed delusion of parasitosis. In this case he has a firm and persistent belief that he is infested with parasites, insects or bugs when no such infestation is present. He may even say that he has seen worms or bugs crawling on or under the skin. This delusion is most common in case of formication of drug induced origin and occurring in middle aged or elderly women.
Formication is characterised under type of paraesthesia which means abnormal sensation on the skin with no apparent physical trigger behind it. Paraesthesia also includes some other sensations including tingling, prickling, burning, numbness, coldness or pin needle like sensation. These sensations can affect any of the body parts but most commonly occurs in hands, feet, arms and legs. The reasons behind paraesthesia include pressure on a nerve, poor blood circulation, nerve damage.
- 1 Symptoms
- 2 Causes
- 3 Complications
- 4 Homeopathic Remedies for Formication
- 4.1 1. Zincum Met – When it is Better by Rubbing
- 4.2 2. Agaricus – For Formication Along the Spine
- 4.3 3. Aconite – When it Shifts from One Place to Another
- 4.4 4. Cocainum Hydrochloricum – For Sensation of Foreign Body or Worms under Skin
- 4.5 5. Ranunculus Bulbosus – When it Affects Scalp or Fingers
- 4.6 6. Hypericum – For Crawling in Hands and Feet
- 4.7 7. Picric Acid – When it Affects Head, Legs or Ears
- 4.8 8. Causticum – For Crawling Sensation in Soles of Feet
- 4.9 9. Cistus – For Sensation of Ant Crawling all over the Body
- 4.10 10. Secale Cor – For Formication in Spine, Limbs, Finger Tips, Tongue
- 4.11 11. Sulphur – For Crawling Sensation in Hands and Feet
Person affected may feel itching on the skin. This may lead to scratching and picking on the skin area where crawling is present. Scratching may sometimes be very severe to cause bleeding and excoriations of the skin. Scratching or picking also can damage the skin and cause cuts on the skin. It can get infected and lead to open wounds and skin ulcers. Depending upon the cause formication may occur with other symptoms. These include fatigue, body aches, stiffness in the body, tremors of the hands, difficulty concentrating, depressed feeling, or feeling agitated.
Formication can be a symptom of various medical conditions. First, it can be a symptom of anxiety. Next, it may occur in case of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage that occurs in case of diabetes). Other conditions that may have a symptom of formication are fibromyalgia (disorder in which widespread pain in the body occurs which is attended with sleep problems, tiredness and issues with mood and memory) and parkinson’s disease (Degenerative neurological disorder that begins with tremors, muscle rigidity, slowness of movement and stooped posture). It can also occur in shingles also known as herpes zoster (A viral infection caused by varicella zoster virus. In this a painful, blistering skin rash occurs that affects one side of the body). Next medical condition that can lead to it is Lyme disease (an infectious disease caused by a bacteria of the type borrelia transmitted to humans by a bite from an infected black – legged / deer tick).
Apart from above it can appear in cases of skin cancer. Females who are around perimenopause age can also experience it. It may also arise from use of some medicines (used for treating depression) or recreational drug use (eg. Cocaine and crystal meth). Other causes are pesticide exposure, mercury poisoning, hypocalcaemia, diseases of the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. Lastly it may arise from withdrawal of using alcohol or stopping use of certain drugs.
It can lead to poor sleep quality, tiredness, concentration difficulty, frustration, anxiety, depression. The complications that can arise from constant scratching of skin includes skin infection, skin ulcers, gangrene, fever and sepsis in severe cases.
Homeopathic Remedies for Formication
People with complaints of formication may find homeopathy to be very useful for managing the symptoms. The medicines used in homeopathy for managing it are prepared from naturally occurring substances. Hence they are very safe and gentle to use with zero side effects. There is no specific medicine in homeopathy for managing it and the best suitable homeopathic medicine for any case of formication is selected as per the individual symptoms of the sufferer. It is advised to get a homeopathic medicine prescribed by a homeopathic doctor for a case of formication after a detailed case analysis. In case of severe complicated cases it is advised to get help from conventional mode of treatment.
1. Zincum Met – When it is Better by Rubbing
This medicine is beneficial for cases persons who have general formication which is better by rubbing. They feel as if they are covered with ants. Other than this it is useful for crawling sensation in both the calf muscles extending to toes. Formication in the feet along with coldness especially at night is also a guiding symptom to use it. Lastly, it is used when there is a sensation of bugs crawling from feet up to knees or even thighs disturbing the sleep.
2. Agaricus – For Formication Along the Spine
This medicine is best indicated for sensation of ants creeping along the spine. Along with this there may be a burning sensation in the back. It is also a prominent medicine for formication in the feet along with heaviness or weakness. Persons having crawling sensation in upper and lower limbs can also be benefited with it.
3. Aconite – When it Shifts from One Place to Another
It is a natural medicine prepared from plant Aconitum Napellus commonly known as monkshood. It belongs to family ranunculaceae. It is well indicated medicine to manage formication in various body parts when it shifts from one part to another. For using it the crawling sensation may be present in upper and lower limbs. Next there may be crawling in the spine as from beetles. Thirdly formication is felt on the scalp specifically relieved by heat. Creeping in the fingers while writing is another characteristic symptom.
4. Cocainum Hydrochloricum – For Sensation of Foreign Body or Worms under Skin
It is the next prominent medicine used where a person has sensation of foreign bodies or worms under the skin. He may also have a sensation of bugs on his body or clothes. There may be a specific symptom of formication in the hands and forearms attended with numbness. Apart from these it is also indicated for cases of parkinson’s disease and delirium tremens.
5. Ranunculus Bulbosus – When it Affects Scalp or Fingers
It is prepared from plant Ranunculus Bulbosus having the common name buttercup. It belongs to family ranunculaceae. It is a valuable medicine for crawling, creeping sensation in the scalp. Burning sensation in the scalp may also be there with this. Another symptom where it is helpful is crawling sensation in the skin of fingers.
6. Hypericum – For Crawling in Hands and Feet
It is a natural medicine prepared from fresh plant Hypericum perforatum having the common name St. John’s Wort. It belongs to the family hypericaceae. This medicine is suitable for managing crawling sensation in the hands and feet. Sometimes needle-like sticking is also felt with this. In some cases numbness is experienced along with crawling sensation. Lastly pain in the fingers and toes may accompany the above symptoms.
7. Picric Acid – When it Affects Head, Legs or Ears
It is another effective medicine for these cases. It is most helpful for persons having a crawling sensation on the head. They feel as if there are ants all over the head surface. It is also beneficial for persons who have crawling in the legs. Numbness may attend it. Next symptom that can accompany this is a pricking sensation as if from needles. Trembling is yet another symptom that can be present with this. Lastly people having a sensation of worms crawling in their ears can be benefited with it.
8. Causticum – For Crawling Sensation in Soles of Feet
This medicine is suited for cases having crawling sensation in the soles of the feet. There feels as if something alive is present in the soles where it is required. Next characteristic symptom for using it is the crawling sensation in the ball of the great toe. This burning is also felt in the big toe. Sometimes it can be attended with pressive or stitching pain in it.
9. Cistus – For Sensation of Ant Crawling all over the Body
This natural medicine is prepared from plant Cistus Canadensis also named as Helianthemum canadense. It is commonly known by various names like Rock rose, Ice plant and Frost weed. It belongs to the family cistacae. It is an effective medicine when there is a sensation of ants running through the whole body. For using it this sensation is most marked in the evening or at night time. This sensation may be accompanied with itching. It is also well indicated medicine when an ant crawling sensation is attended with anxiety.
10. Secale Cor – For Formication in Spine, Limbs, Finger Tips, Tongue
This is a good medicine for managing formication in the spine. This may be accompanied with coldness in the back. Secondly, it is indicated to manage formication in the limbs. Prickling, tingling or numbness may be felt with this. Third characteristic for using it is a crawling sensation in tips of fingers as if something alive is creeping under skin. The fingertips may be sensitive to cold with this. Another guiding symptom to use is painful tingling or sensation of crawling of ants on the tongue. Apart from all above this is indicated for managing crawling tingling sensation as from ants which is relieved from rubbing.
11. Sulphur – For Crawling Sensation in Hands and Feet
Sulphur is a valuable medicine for managing crawling sensation in the hands and feet. People requiring it may also have crawling on the tip of their fingers. Prickling sensation may also be felt in fingertips. This tends to get worse on hanging arms down. In case of feet initially heated burning sensation is felt. This is followed by itching and crawling in them. Sometimes crawling occurs specifically in the heel of the right side. This is marked in the evening in bed.