A picture is worth a thousand words, right?
That's why we produced this infographic, on the topic of Dermatillomania.
It explains in simple conjunction of words, numbers and graphics, what currently is known about this disorder.
Here it is, hope you enjoy reading it, share it and like it!
Sure, we may all pick at our skin some time: that irritating zit that begs for popping; that ingrown hair that ache’s for a tweezer’s touch. However, there is a fine line between “every so often” and “every few minutes,” and such is defined by the impulse control disorder known as dermatillomania.
Dermatillomania is a compulsive, often detrimental habit that is characterized by the repeated urge to pick at one's own skin -- often to the extent of tissue damage and scarring.
Linked to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), this uncontrollable condition is responsible for both physical and emotional trauma; hindering one’s social life and activities, and further exacerbating any existing scars. Dermatillomania is considered a form of self-injury, and people suffering from this disorder often wear longs sleeves and makeup and/or band-aids to cover up their physical scarring and scabs.
In terms of prevalence, an estimated 1.4 to 5.4 percent of the general population is afflicted with this condition, with women accounting for the majority (at 86 percent). While the onset of dermatillomania varies, the condition typically peaks in adolescents between the ages of 11-13 years old.
Episodes of skin picking are often preceded or accompanied by high bouts of tension, anxiety and stress. Such cases can lead to a compulsive urge for dermatillomania suffers to pick or squeeze at their skin.
Interested in learning more? Take a peek at our latest infographic, which highlights everything you need to know about this condition, including causes, treatment options, and coping modalities.
Recently I got an email from ocdla (the OCD center of Los Angeles), as I’m subscribed to their newsletter. I was surprised, but more than that happy, to read in that letter that Compulsive Skin Picking was added to the DSM-5 last May (more precisely May 18 2013). I was caught a bit off guard, since I haven’t been on top of the news lately…
To those who don’t know, the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is the so called “bible” of the mental health professionals. It lists and classifies all the mental disorders. DSM-4 was the outdated version of the manual, published way back in the last century.
As skin picking got more and more recognition, there were those who pushed towards its addition to the DSM. There was reluctance, mainly due to two reasons. One is that the disorder might be simply a symptom of some other underlying disorder. The second reason is that it might be viewed simply as a bad habit.
However it was clear (at least to me) that it deserves to become “official”. A bit more than an year ago I even asked our readers to support the addition of skin picking to the new version of DSM. Looks like our wish has been answered.
It was decided to add the disorder to DSM-5, due to substantial literature on the subject, its prevalence in the population, and abilities to diagnose and treat it. The skin picking disorder is listed as Excoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder in the manual. It is listed under the section of “Obsessive compulsive and related disorders”. The group includes other disorders such as the scope of OCD, BDD, trichotillomania and hoarding (which is also a new addition to the DSM-5).
Another interesting piece of info I dug out while researching this event: Angela Hartlin got interviewed by Canadian Press on the occasion of the DSM-5 addition. The interview got syndicated to more than 20 publications ! Good work Angie. Ps if you don’t know her blog, take a look. Good stuff there.
That’s all for now, hoping to keep you more frequently posted in the future.
We recently had a Skype interview with Jon Hershfield (MFT) – an experienced therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for OCD and related disorders.
Needless to say we talked mainly about Dermatillomania. We covered topics such as classification of Dermatillomania (OCD, addiction, bad habits) and various treatment methods used to deal with compulsive skin picking (CBT, habit reversal, mindfulness).
In addition, we discussed the Internet as a potential tool for counseling. In this regard we talked about teletherapy (or what we call here at SkinPick– remote coulseling), and about Jon’s involvement in online forums for OCD.
Click this link for the full interview with Jon Hershfield .
Liz Atkin, a visual artist from the UK, contacted us a few days ago. She told us about her new exhibition, at the center of which is her experience with the skin picking disorder.
There's a short but rather interesting interview with Liz that took place a few days ago on the Woman's Hour radio show on BBC Radio 4. She talks about the way her art is influenced by compulsive picking, and on the other hand, how her art helps her to deal with the disorder. You can listen to the 8 min interview here
If you happen to be in the London area, you might be interested in visiting Liz's exhibition, which takes place at the Bethlem Gallery until the 15th of March. More details about the exhibition can be found on this Bethlem Blog Post.
I stumbled upon a new documentary in progress, called "Trichster", by director Jillian Corsie. It focuses mainly on Trich, and a bit on dermatillomania, judging by the trailer:
Towards the end of the production, the crew, together with 7 of the subjects of the film, are planning to attend the Trichotillomania Learning Center Conference in New York. You can help them attain this plan by donating here.
Planned release date is spring 2014.
To those of you who are not familiar with "Scars of Shame" - this is a documentary on skin picking by Lisa Heyden. This film is about a 24 year old Angie (Angela Hartlin) who suffers from skin picking.
After a long hiatus due to funding difficulties, production is now back on track, with the film being in last editing stages. Angie tells me that the expected release date is March 2013, which is great news.
Skin picking is still not official
Believe it or not, Skin Picking is still not considered as an "official" disorder. The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), is the “bible” of mental health professionals. It is published by the American Psychiatric Association, and is used to classify and diagnose mental disorders. Yet the Skin Picking disorder is not listed in the current version of the manual (DSM-4).
How you can help to make it official
The good news are that a new version, DSM-5, which is going to be published in 2013, might include Skin Picking as a disorder. The draft of DSM-5 lists skin picking under “Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders”. However, there’s still risk that it will be removed in the final version.
The draft of DSM-5 is opened for public comments until June 15th 2012. In order to make sure Skin Picking disorder makes it to the final version of the manual, you can do the following:
- Goto to http://dsm5.org
- Sign up for a username, and login
- Go to the Skin Picking page: http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevision/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=401
- Under the “Proposed Revision” tab, express your support for the proposed revision using the comment box at bottom of page.
Why is it important?
The DSM-5 publication is considered an event of huge importance in the mental health field. The last major revision was the fourth edition (DSM-4), published in 1994. If everyone makes a tiny effort of expressing support for the current draft regarding skin picking, it’ll help the disorder entering the new DSM-5, which will have a huge impact on the awareness of the disorder among mental health professionals and researchers. Let’s help make it happen!
We got an email from William Michael Davidson. He's a father of a girl who has Trichotillomania. He wrote a book called "The Dragon Who Pulled Her Scales". It a children's book telling a tale of a girl dragon who has a secret...
Long ago, in a world where dragons were the world's protectors, a beautiful dragon named Ellam lived in a cool, misty cave. Although Ellam liked to have fun with her friends, she had a secret. She liked to pull out her scales. Ellam was always careful to cover her body--she didn't want anyone to see that she was missing her scales. That is, until one day when Everwynn, the great king of dragons, needed someone for a special mission. Someone without scales.
Join Ellam on her exciting journey as she discovers that everyone's wounds have purpose, and the storms we travel through are part of a greater plan.
It was real heart warming to get the message from William about this book. I hope it will be a source of hope and encouragement for both kids and adults who struggle with trichotillomania or skin-picking.
You can get the book on Amazon.
And here's the facebook page of the book.
Our counseling service for skin picking patients has grown in popularity this year, partly due to the fact that people are becoming more aware of their problem and the options to treat it, and partly due to Dr. Ted Grossbart, who's a worldwide known expert at treating Dermatillomania, who leads our counseling program.
Due to several changes that occurred recently in our practice, we decided to alter our counseling price. From Dec 1st, 2011, the price per session of the counseling goes up from $180 to $210.
If you want to enjoy the previous price of $180/session, you can do that by enrolling prior to December 1st, 2011. Note that you will pay the lower price even for sessions that occur after Dec 1st, provided that you enrolled prior to Dec 1st.
We've been contacted by an international feature news agency called Incredible Features (incrediblefeatures.com). They work with many national and international publications, including Time, Newsweek, Psychology Today, and others to cover unique and amazing stories that often don't get highlighted in the mainstream media.
They're presently looking to do a story about Dermatillomania and are in need of someone with a case of skin picking disorder to speak with about their experience.
As always, we welcome and endorse any effort directed at increasing CSP awareness. If you're willing to share your story, please contact Holly [at] incrediblefeatures.com