During treatment for skin picking disorder there is always a large portion of the program that focuses on the indidual developing an awareness of the skin picking behaviors and being able to identify the triggers before picking in order to implement strategies to prevent or detract from picking before it occurs. However this requires constant introspection and self-monitoring. This can be challenging at best when you are already plagued by self-doubt and harsh self-judgement. One way to stay on track with behavior chance is through the use of the buddy system.
For many dermatillomania sufferers, the face is a target of compulsive skin picking. This can often result in severe scarring and an in severe cases permanent damage to the appearance of the skin. Dermatillomania is already a disorder that causes the individual immense shame and guilt, but these negative feelings are further perpetuated by the physical consequences of the picking behavior. This can lead to the person avoiding social situations for fear of being harshly judged for their appearance, fears of bullying, or for fear of people asking too many questions about the condition of their skin. Many people, women in particular use cosmetics as a way to overcome this difficulty, particularly when going out in public is not an option, such as going to work or school. However applying cosmetics to cover scarring in a natural way is skill that needs to be learned. This video is of a young woman who shows you ste by step how to cover up scarring and scabs from acne and picking, as she herslf sufferes from dermatillomania.
As discussed many times, cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be the most effective intervention in the treatment of body-focused repetitive behaviours (BFRBs) such as dermtillomania. 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. In individualized therapy your therapist may apply the methods he/she assesses to be most relevant to you. However, in an online therapy program like the one we offer here at skinpick.com, we have designed the program to be more comprehensive in its approach. 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.
Dr. Tammy Fletcher is a Marriage and Family Therapist who is an expert in the treatment of body-focused repetitive behaviours (BFRBs) such as compulsive skin picking disorder or dermatillomania. She has a YouTube channel called Talk Therapy where she shares general information about various conditions and some of the strategies that can be used to manage these disorders. In this video she talks about the strategies that can be used for BFRBs such as dermatillomania.
On this blog we talk a lot about the value of support in overcoming dermatillomania. We therefore advocate for compulsive skin picking sufferers to open up about their struggles with the disorder to someone you trust and feel you can confide in. However we do recognize that this is far easier recommended than done. One of the characteristics of this disorder is that the behavior consumes the person with immense shame and guilt.
For those of you who are new to the BFRB (body-focused repetitive behaviors) community, you may not have heard about the Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC) Annual Conference. This is the only even of its kind that unites clinicians, researchers, patients and their loved ones for an entire weekend focused on sharing knowledge, resources and information about the various BFRBs. The date for the next conference has been set for April 15-17, 2016 in Dallas Texas, with registrations already open.
If you have any interest in any of the BFRBs, be it compulsive skin picking, hair pulling, or any of the other BFRBs then this conference is for you. It doesn’t matter if you are a clinician with years of experience, a parent concerned for your child, a friend of someone who picks, or if you are a skin picker yourself; if you have any interest in learning more about this debilitating condition then this conference is for you.
Body-focussed repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are prevalent in both men and women, and yet the majority of information and awareness we get about BFRBs such as compulsive skin picking and hair pulling, is from women. While there are male skin pickers out there blogging and sharing their experiences, they are in the minority. This in turn perpetuates the hesitance of men to come forward and speak openly about their struggles with this disorder. In a previous post we shared the goal of one brave gentleman who will be publishing his memoirs, of which his battle with dermatillomania is a huge feature. In this post I would like to share with you the YouTube channel of another brave young man. In this particular video he not only talks about his compulsive skin picking, but also shares some tips on how he is trying to overcome this behavior.
Artist and advocate for body-focussed repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), Liz Atkin is no stranger to the skinpick.com blog. We first introduced Liz last year when we outlined the highlights of her interview with BBC radio’s Felicity Finch, and then again in July this year when we shared a video of her speaking to an audience about her experiences with compulsive skin picking as part of the Critical Voices Campaign.
Through her efforts to raise awareness about dermatillomania and other BFRBs through visual art, Liz has become a spokesperson for dermatillomania sufferers everywhere. Her most recent contribution to the campaign to educate others about the condition and foster a better understanding of those suffering with compulsive skin picking, was to display her art at the David Geffen School of Medicine, followed by a talk with students explaining how she uses art to battle dematillomania.
When you are an active participant in the body-focussed repetitive behaviors (BFRB) community, it seems incredible to think that there is lack of awareness of these conditions. Yet research shows that there are still many undiagnosed cases of compulsive skin picking and hair pulling disorders, among others. This is largely due to the shame and stigma surrounding the behaviors, but also due to the lack of awareness of the fact that these are clinically recognized psychological disorders and that it is NOT an indication of weakness or failure on the part of the individual sufferer. Sure there are many who engage in similar behaviors only habitually, but there comes a point where a habit evolves into something which impacts negatively on the person’s functioning and they find it hard to stop despite this. When this happens compulsive skin picking cannot be considered just a bad habit.