On a recently released you-tube video, a member of the board of the Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC), Dana Flores, shared some tools she uses to curb her skin picking, a disorder she has suffered from since the age of twelve or thirteen. Although she is not completely cured of her habit, the tools she employs have gone a long way in helping her to drastically cut down on the number of hours she spends picking every day.
He goes under the blog name Bleachnjam. He’s not a doctor or a therapist or indeed any type of professional that assists with Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRB’s), but those who suffer with the disorders are the experts when it comes to understanding how to respond to someone who picks. There are a huge number of people worldwide who are silently suffering from BFRB disorders and who desperately need to be understood. After over twenty years of suffering from dermatillomania, a condition which causes the sufferer to pick at the skin from anywhere on their body, he started an online journal to help raise awareness on skin picking. He found that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), where sufferers are encouraged to focus on their thoughts, behaviours and feelings, was the most effective form of therapy to help him deal with his disorder. In a recent blog post, he addresses the family, friends and colleagues who don't know how to respond when seeing the person picking and gives advice on how to react when they see someone picking.
Excoriation disorder can be an overhwelming emotional burden on the individual struggling with the disorder. It is not only the shame and ebarrassment caused by the effects of continuous picking on the skin, but also the guilt around the act of picking itself. People with excoriation disorder often report feeling extreme negative emotions such as anger, sadness, fear even disgust following a session of picking. In addition one of the indicators of a diagnosis of excoriation disorder is that there is an impact on the person's daily functioning. This may be due to not engaging in meaningful occupations to avoid embarrassment of people seeing picked areas, or social isolation due the huge knock to the person's self confidence and feelings of self worth.
image: Vitalgate Health
There are many alternative therapies recommended for a variety of conditions. And while these 'new' treatments do not have enough empirical evidence supporting their use with disorders like compulsive skin picking, there are those who have tried various therapies and have reported positive outcomes. Biofeedback is one such treatment. Biofeedback involves using methods that assist the patient to learn to change and control physiological processes and responses of the body such as heart rate and muscle tension, to physical stimuli.
When I stop picking I will...
People struggling with BFRBS such as as skin picking disorder often experience intense guilt and shame around their behavior and the resulting damage it causes the skin. This can have a detrimental impact on their self esteem and impact negatively on their social functioning, often avoiding enjoyable social situations for fear of being harshly judged. A common phrase used by people with skin picking disorder is "When I stop picking...". However a regular blogger over at Diary of a Skin Picker recently published a post stating that you shouldn't wait:
Don’t put off today’s happiness, for some imagined happiness tomorrow.
Author: David Florendale
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March, 2014)
Where to buy? Here
You may already be familiar with this book from as one authored by Skinpick.com's very own David Florendale. This insightful book provides indepth information about compulsive skin picking disorder. It takes you through identification of symptoms and variations of the disorder, possible causes and triggers, and highlights some of the effective treatment methods available. This is an important read for anyone wanting to learn more about skin picking as a clinical disorder.
Majority of the young YouTube vloggers we come across talkng about their experiences with dermatillomania are young women. So when we stumbled across this young gentleman who speaks openly about his skin picking, we thought it important to showcase his video on our blog particularly for our male readers.
Anthony has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), diagnosed at age 12. Anthony also struggles with compulsive skin picking. In this video he talks about his skin picking and is very excited to be starting treatment for this disorder. Anthony hopes to motivate and help others realize that they have the power to change their own lives.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that works to solve current problems and change unhelpful thinking and behaviour. The core belief is that the way we think affects our emotions and behaviour, and our behaviors and resulting feedback from the environement either reinforces or refutes our thinking. CBT helps people with conditions such as anxiety and depression change the content of unhelpful thoughts and maladaptive ways of coping, such as avoidance or addictive behaviour. However, there many different methodologies within the CBT frame of reference. Each method is effective in on its own and in conjunction with other methods, depending on the individual client and condition. One such method that has been receiving much interest recently is the concept of mindfulness-based CBT.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies. ACT is used in conjunction with mindfulness based techniques, which teaches clients to become present in each moment. The method may seem counter-intuitive to many as it promotes the acceptance of negative thoughts and feelings as part of the human experience. This is termed the Acceptance part of the technique. The indvidual is then encouraged to think of ways to respond to these negative thoughts and emotions in a way that fully embraces personal values and goals. This is the commitment aspect of ACT as the individual pledges commitment to their identified values and goals. ACT has strong roots in the Relational Frame Theory, which highlights the ways that language reinforces or refutes thoughts and beliefs and how this in turn can be used as a powerful tool to counter the negative thought processes that influence out behaviors.
A young YouTuber who goes by the name of MilkPunk posted a video describing dermatillomania and dermatophagia as these are both disorders she struggles with. It takes great courage to publicly talk about these types of disorders as it can be a source of great shame and embarrassment. In the video MilkPunk tries to explain what the disorders are and the difference between them.