Formication is a form of tactile hallucination characterised by the sensation that insects are crawling on or under the skin. The name for this phenomenon is derived from the Latin word for "ant," and people may describe ants specifically or any number of insects. People who experience this form of hallucination can be treated, with a number of treatment options available, depending on the cause.

Several underlying medical issues can be linked with formication, including neuropathies, high fever and skin cancer. In addition, people sometimes experience formication as an adverse drug reaction, with various medications (e.g. for Parkinson's) being linked with this phenomenon. People on cocaine and some other illegal drugs can also experience tactile hallucinations of this type.

In some cases, formication leads to delusional parasitosis. The patient becomes convinced that he or she has been colonized by parasites, insisting on treatment even when a doctor can find no signs. The patient may make numerous medical appointments in an attempt to find a doctor who can find the parasites the patient is certain are present.

In addition to causing delusional parasitosis, formication can also lead to injuries as patients scratch at themselves in an attempt to combat the itching, crawling sensation. This can lead to infection, especially in illegal drug users, who may be in unclean environments where infectious agents are commonplace.

Addressing formication requires treatment of the cause. If, for example, it is being caused by medication, a change of medication can be used to resolve the hallucinations. Medications and medical procedures used to manage the itching and tingling associated with neuropathies can also be employed to treat formication. It is important for patients to also receive treatment for cuts and scratches, and if a patient cannot stop scratching or picking, restraints may need to be used to allow the patient's skin to heal.
Bless you heavy subject at 5am , have come across this with patients who have liver cancer.
have you had a problem with this yourself or is it something yo stumbled across

I've never experienced anything visual, nor felt any need to scratch, but I get the "crawling ants" feeling all the time - I have it right now. It's like a sort of internal pins & needles crawling inside you, under the skin. It can be quite powerful and will certainly prevent you sleeping; like a restless leg syndrome, you can end up kicking and thrashing about trying to be rid of this creepy feeling.

It's most common in the arms, then the legs, but it can happen anywhere in the body. At the moment it is all over me except the head. While you have it the skin itself becomes hypersensitive.
Hi Ray

sorry late reply been away for a few days, sounds awful have you spoken with Medics about it may have yet another drug that may help as if you have not got enough to deal with

Sue x
I find this distinctly worrying. When I use my arms a lot I get the sensation you describe between my shoulder blades and I know it's time to stop whatever I'm doing.

My ace physio knows about it so do my neuro's and never have I been told it's anything other than a reaction to overdoing things.
I'm awaiting blood test results from my GP. Their normal investigation route for such symptoms is apparently to start out by ruling out illegal drug use, which is a common cause.
I had that on my arm.

It turned out it WAS an ant.

I put down ant killer and his pals have stopped looking for him/her (kinda hard to tell).
Very funny. I'll see if it makes my doctors laugh.
I wouldn't, they never do. If it's not a private session or pay day, they are as miserable as sin.

The only time he laughed was when he clocked my wifes face tatooed on my bum when he was checking me farmers. Most disconcerting I can tell you.

Has your formication got worse, or has the area affected spread? Mine starts all over my left (dominant) shoulder blade, then works its way down my arms & legs.
happy valentines day evryone ..

My husband is always scratching or suddenly touching his face, ear, eye,head etc ..
I find if I cleanse his face ,head neck usually use a baby wipe or something similar it helps . Do you find that you sweat a lot .

I haven't got Parkinsons but have trouble with an itch at my shoulder blade , just where I cannot reach . I take Med for BP and Thyroid . Never thought of that .
Any progress re your formication JC?

In my experience it isn't delusional, it IS actually parasites.  I am not in the least mad, but I know what I can feel.

I have systemic worms.  I can feel the bigger ones squirming, slithering, wriggling, writhing and biting in my left side and upper back.  The smaller worms and larva travel all around my body from my scalp and face down to my feet.  I believe they have been quietly in residence since I was a child (I am now in my late 50s), but have only 'come out of the woodwork' and made themselves 'known' so to speak in the last year.  I haven't a clue why.

There are some experts who believe that as much as 95% of the World's population has one or more parasites.  I wouldn't be surprised.

My stool tests came back negative, but that is very common.  Very few labs are equipped or qualified to recognise parasites.  To my knowledge there are a handful in the US and only one in the UK.  But although I have not actually seen any worms I have seen evidence of their existence.  I have seen worm tracks around my stool, had narrow red welts appear on my legs as they fled from block anaesthetic that was inserted in my groin after surgery (they apparently hate anaesthetic), and when the cast was removed after the leg operation (pins and plate after a severe break), there were wriggly tracks all in the dried skin on my leg.

i had felt them moving in and out of the wound inside the cast, making it a darn sight.more sore than it should have been.

it makes me angry that people who think they have parasites are dismissed as 'delusional'.many are even considered bonkers.  I read of a poor woman who was sent to a psychologist because her doctors wouldn't believe her.  It's wicked.

if you have parasites you are better off in India, or some other less developed countries.  They know they are a problem and it is taken seriously.  Here in the UK or in the US, we are considered immune!  You are asked if you 've been abroad, as if parasites don't exist here.  wrong!  They are everywhere.  Other countries don 't have more of a problem than we do - they are just far more aware of it!

Our great-grandparents weren't stupid.  They would de-worm themselves and their families regularly.  Senna, castor oil, epsom salts, etc.  All taken regularly to flush out any unwanted visitors.  Did the parasites suddenly disappear?  Of course not.  We just 'forgot' that ancient wisdom.

All my aches, pains, muscle issues, twitches, insomnia (they are nocturnal), anxiety, etc., I now recognise as worm activity.  The fact that even though I eat a very good diet and take plenty of supplements, I can never seem to make up my nutritional deficiencies, is due to the fact that they are constantly hijacking my nutrition.  They constantly burden my body with their waste, turn my flesh into mincemeat as they worm around it, keep me awake with their constant movements, and drive me to distraction.

Nutrition - plenty of vitamins, minerals and trace elements from good natural foods (not processed, grains or 'dead' sugar), plus plenty of sleep and rest is very healing.  But these darn things are undermining that all the time.  I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy if I had one.  But then he/she would probably have some of their own anyway.....