Skin Picking Disorder and Artistic Expression
Skin picking disorder is a poorly understood medical condition. This serious mental health condition, categorized as a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) causes the person to compulsively pick at the skin, often causing damage. Historically this condition has not been well known, with many sufferring in silence due to the intense shame and guilt often associated with it. Even within the medical fraternity there has been inadequate awareness about the condition. The lack of awareness of dermatillomania has resulted in it being one of the more underdiagnosed conditions of our time. Treating dermatillomania requires working with trained therapists who are skilled and knowledgeable about the condition.
Getting the word out
However, in recent times, efforts by organizations lik the Trichotillomania Learning Centre (TLC) and the Canadian BFRB Support Network (CBSN) has led to increased awareness and thus more acceptance of the condition. This has played a crucial role in the research and development leading to more treatment modalities being discovered. It has also resulted in more people speaking openly about their experiences of the condition and more health professionals taking an active interest in the diagnosis and management of the condition. Of course not all therapies will be suitable for everybody, with less conventional modalities sometimes also showing positive results. Art therapy is one such treatment modality, showing positive outcomes for those with compulsive skin picking disorder. Artistic expression can be very beneficial, not just to children but also to adults. Art therapy provides an outlet for expressing negative thoughts and emotions in a creative way.
No one should feel alone with this disorder
On April 10 to 12, artists from all around the world will gather for the first annual art auction sponsored by the TLC. Paintings, photographs, poetries, and other crafts made by artists with or without a BFRB are accepted in this auction. The auction is a fun, playful way of stimulating dialogue about a very serious topic. It is hoped that it will create awareness and raise funds toward continued research into this condtition. It is also a great way to share common experiences through art in an open, friendly environment with others who suffer from dermatillomania, as well as those who do not have an adequate understaning of the condition.
With the help of artistic expression as a part of BFRB awareness, many people will become aware of this disorder. By attending this type of event, sufferers and non-sufferers alike can hear about the experiences of BFRB advocates. Increased awareness means that more people will identify when their "bad habit" is actually a clinical disorder and therefore seek out help.