The false, abnormal feeling that insects are crawling on or under one’s skin, often accompanied by stinging or biting sensations. Formication is a type of tactile hallucination. Its many causes include various medical conditions, altitude sickness, prescription drug side effects, and drug withdrawal.
Example: An alcoholic patient leaps from his bed and dances around the room in a frenzy, swiping at invisible insects on his arms and shouting, “Get them off me!”
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Sep 2011