The psychiatric facet of hyperhidrosis: demographics, disability, quality of life, and associated psychopathology

J Psychiatr Pract. 2014 Jul;20(4):316-23. doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000452570.69578.31.


We compared the sociodemographic and psychiatric features of treatment-seeking patients with (n=17) and without (n=29) primary hyperhidrosis (HYH) attending an outpatient dermatological clinic. Subjects were assessed with a structured clinical questionnaire, the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, as well as the Screening for Abnormal Olfactory Experiences (to assess for symptoms of olfactory reference syndrome), the Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-Revised, the Social Phobia Inventory, the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories, the Skindex-16 (a quality of life measure for patients with skin diseases), and the Sheehan Disability Scale. Patients with HYH were more frequently younger (p=0.003), unmarried (p=0.004), employed (p=0.019), more educated (p<0.0001), and better paid (p=0.001) than non-HYH patients. However, they also reported greater disabilities and impairments in work/school (p=0.05) and social life (p=0.014) domains, worse quality of life in emotional (p=0.003) and functioning (p>0.001) dimensions, and they had a greater frequency of comorbid social anxiety disorder (p=0.019). Conversely, non-HYH patients had greater severity of obsessive-compulsive neutralization symptoms (repeating compulsions, counting, and having lucky/unlucky numbers) (p=0.034). In conclusion, patients with HYH are characterized by differential sociodemographic and psychopathological characteristics, with major disability, marked impairment in quality of life, and increased rates of social anxiety disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperhidrosis / epidemiology*
  • Hyperhidrosis / physiopathology
  • Hyperhidrosis / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology*