Dermatillomania is a clinical condition where the patient gets regular uncontrollable urges to pick his or her skin. The picking can sometimes be so severe that it causes injury and scarring and can even sometimes lead to infection. People with compulsive skin picking disorder are unable to control the compulsion to pick his or her skin. The parts of the body that are mostly affected are the lips and the face. However, the other parts of the body are often affected too, such as arms and legs, cuticles, scalp and even the gums. Picking is often followed by a sense of relief, but this often follows shortly after with feelings of shame and embarrassment.
For those struggling with compulsive skin picking, finding the right mental health professional to treat the issue can seem like a bewildering task. With so many different types of therapy available, you may find yourself confused as to which type of professional and which type of therapy you should be using to see genuine progress. Finding the right mental health professional will save you time and money, but it will also help you see real progress. Consider this information as you seek assistance.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who is trained to both diagnose and treat mental health issues. While a psychiatrist is not typically trained to provide counsel for patients, he or she can prescribe medication to you. There are also psychiatrists who specialize in treating children and adolescents. If your compulsive skin picking stems from a condition like anxiety or depression, a psychiatrist may determine that medication is the best course of action to curb the habit. Of course, many individuals still seek other forms of therapy while also seeing a psychiatrist.
Dermatillomania, or excoriation disorder is a complex disorder with no definitive cause for onset. If you investigate what triggered the of onset in a sample group of people who compulsively pick their skin, the conclusions will vary from modelling a family member to stress, neuro-imbalances to anxiety. One often overlooked possibility is the link with sensory processing. Sensory integration has been thought to be associated with body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), whereby the act of picking the skin, pulling the hair or biting the nails provides a form of sensory input that either dampens an overstimulated brain or stimulates an understimulated one. The concept of sensory seeking behavior is not new.
Here at skinpick.com we offer a therapist guided, online therapy program, based on CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT has been consistently found to be the most effective form of therapy for the treatment of body-focused repetitive behaviors. It is the method of choice that is primarily used by expert therapists worldwide, who specialize in treating this disorder. There are many methods within this treatment framework that can be applied in isolation of each other or together as a holistic and comprehensive whole. Regardless of the primary method of CBT employed by your therapist, one fundamental principle of CBT is the developing of awareness by the patient of the behavior they are trying to change and the contexts in which they occur.
Meet Lauren McKeaney. She describes herself as a a writer, filmmaker, comedienne and storyteller. Lauren is also a skin picker. Lauren remembers being a skin picker from the tender age of about 4 or 5 years old. With the picking came great shame, guilt and memories of teasing and taunting through her childhood. Lauren never spoke about picking. Until one she contracted MRSA, which is a hard-to-treat life-threatening infection. It landed her in the hospital for two weeks, but when she came out, she discovered a new found courage to open up and share with anyone willing to listen about her struggles with the disorder. And so Lauren McKeaney, avid BFRB awareness advocate was born.
Sharing authentically about why my skin is the way it is has been life changing. I’m aware there is no cure (yet) for my condition, but there is something about advocacy that has taken the pertinence of the disorder away from myself, and has put my efforts and love and contribution towards helping others, which has in turn made my own self-acceptance grow stronger.
Not many health professionals understand what Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRB) such as hair pulling (trichotillomania) and skin picking (dermatillomania) are and what causes these behaviours or disorders. This is changing as medical advances are made and health professionals increase their understanding and insights into the underlying reasons for why some people compulsively pull out their hair or pick at their skins while other people don't feel such an urge to do so.
Because of this growing awareness of these types of compulsive behaviour, in 2014, the Trichtillomania Learning Center (TLC) Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours, with the help of its TLC scientific advisory board and collaborative partnerships started up the BFRB Precision Medicine Initiative to promote research and understanding around BFRBs.
An adult's skin can weigh up to 3,6 kilograms and cover a space of about 2 metres.That makes your skin your body's largest and most important organ, providing you with an important defence against bacteria, diseases and germs that would threaten your health and well being. Your skin, which is made up of several different layers, is a waterproof agent that protects the nevers, bones, muscles and tendons within your body, keeping them in place; shields you against extremes such as harsh sunlight; harmful chemicals and it has healing properties within it that allows it to heal when injured. Your skin is made out of three main layers. The outmost layer of skin, called the epidermis is the layer that forms a waterproof barrier and gives you your skin tone. The second layer, the dermis, is the part that contains connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands whereas the third layer, the subcutaneous layer or hypodermis is the part made out of fat and connective tissue. When the skin is injured, cells within your body swiftly swings into action to ensure that the injured part is healed quickly.
Dermatillomania, also known as excoriation or skin picking is when a person compulsively picks away at their skin, leaving their skin marked with scars. People who have dermatillomania are driven to pick at their skin for different reasons. Some may pick their skin in times of stress or anxiety, starting with picking at acne, finding that it is pleasurable and may even relieve their anxiousness. Dematillomania is viewed as a coping mechanism that people engage in to cope with emotional or psychological distress that they cannot verbalise. The most commonly picked areas on the body tend to be the face, and the condition affects more women than men. People with dermatillomania can pick at their skin at different times during the day, or spend hours picking at one area with their fingers, or even with tweezers and needles. Excessive picking can result in sores, scars, complications, and even infections, and result in shame and guilt around this condition such to the extent that people who pick at their skin feel ashamed to ask for help.
Deschroma has a You Tube channel. She makes videos based on the mental and medical conditions she has to deal with, She has been diagnosed with schizoafrective disorder, and bipolar 1 type. There is a social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD. Still she is employed at a small sales company, She is also a freelance writer.
One of Deschroma's most challenging afflictions is dermatillomania. Dermatilliomania is sometimes called compulsive skin picking disorder, or the clinical term, which is excoriation disorder. Sufferers feel compelled to pick at their skin for extended periods of time. Their actions include rubbing, touching, and digging into their skin. Some sufferers do this to do away with perceived imperfections. Others may have a triggered obsession.
The behavior of sufferers may result in the discoloration of the skin and scarring, In extreme examples of the disorder, Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior, there can be serious tissue damage.