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Alopecia Areata in the Very Young
ROBERT D. MEHLMAN; ROBERT D. GRIESEMER
Am J Psychiatry 1968;125:605-614.
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Assistant in psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Medical Center; senior psychiatrist, Massachusetts Mental Health Center; and junior associate in medicine psychiatry), Peter Bent Brigham Hospital

Assistant professor of dermatology, Harvard Medical School; associate in medicine (dermatology), Children's Hospital Medical Center; and senior associate in medicine (dermatology), Peter Bent Brigham Hospital

1968-69, American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The authors report their investigation of possible relationships between the dermatologic condition of alopecia areata and the emotional state of the patient among a number of young children with the disorder. The clinical evidence suggests a dynamic formulation based upon symbolic loss at a very early age, subsequent symptomatic management of the loss, and, finally, collapse of the management system, precipitating the onset of rapid hair loss. Further physiologic and psychiatric studies may shed some light on the specific somatization process and support the authors' conclusion that this disease belongs in the category of psychosomatic entities.

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