Researchers at Child OCD Anxiety and Tic Disorders Program (UCLA) are conducting research assessing sleep in individuals with skin picking symptoms. They are recruiting adults ages 18 and older who engage in repetitive skin picking.
The survey will last approximately 30 minutes and will include questions about your demographics, sleep quality and patterns, skin picking symptoms, mood, and behavioral and emotional functioning.
Please visit the following link to participate: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/sleepskinpickingadults
For further information, please email the Principal Investigator, Emily Ricketts, Ph.D. at ERicketts@mednet.ucla.edu
Dermatillomania, also known as ‘compulsive skin picking disorder’ or ‘excoriation’, is an anxiety disorder which affects millions of people across the globe. Although conventional medication is not the most common, nor the most effective way to stop skin picking, it can be helpful, especially when combined with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Different people are found to react differently to different types of medication. The most common medications which are prescribed for dermatillomania are anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drugs, dopamine blockers, Inositol, N-Acetyl Cysteine, antidepressants, bipolar medication, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) and opioid inhibitors.
A study for trichotillomania found that clomipramine (Anafranil), a medication affecting the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, was beneficial in treating hair pulling (a body-focussed repeptitive behavior like dermatillomania). Clomipramine has both antidepressant and anti-obsessional properties.
Skin picking disorder can be a pervasive intrusion on a person's life. The constant struggle trying to resist the behavior can be exhausting, but it can also have devastating effects on the skin pickers emotional health. There is no uniform picture of what skin picking entails. Different people pick different parts of the body, in different ways and at different times. Some pick only with their fingers and nails, others use objects, such as tweezers or hairpins to prod and squeeze scabs, pimples, or even unblemished, healthy skin. There is also no set cause for the onset of skin picking, but there has been links found to other mental health conditions such as anxiety disorder and mood disorders such as depression and bipolar. However a correlation does not neccessarily equate to a cause and it may be that theses conditions only co-exist because they aggravate each other.
Having a loved one to support and encourage you when you are suffering from a disorder is always an advantage. However, most people are not aware of how little they understand about body-focussed repetitive behaviours. This can sometimes cause barriers in communication in the relationship between you and your loved one and can create obstacles to recovery.
Often the condition is considered to be just a “bad habit”. The biggest mistake that loved ones make is assuming that they can stop the picking by policing the behaviour and preventing the picking. It’s important to understand here that the only person that can stop the behaviour is the person themselves. Making the person aware that they are picking is not always helpful unless it is done so collaboratively.
There is no single cause or reason for the onset of dermatillomania. Different people start pisking for different reasons, and while some do not ever develop a serious condition, for many skin picking can escalate to a point where it affects their functioning. One of the many links found with the onset of skin picking disorder and other body-focussed repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), is the experience of extreme emotions such as anxiety and depression. Skin picking or other BFRBs can occur when a person experiences feelings such as anxiety, fear, excitement or boredom. Some people report that the act of repetitively picking at their skin is pleasurable. Many hours can be spent picking the skin, and this repetitive behavior can negatively impact a person's social, work, and family relationships.
On the Canadian BFRB Support Network(CBSN) blog this was posted by someone who wishes to stay anonymous:
“Someone close to me, who is also a “picker” sent me the link to Amanda Siebert’s recent article in the Calgary Herald about Danielle Roberts and the book “Project Dermatillomania: The Story Behind Our Scars”, and I was struck with disbelief! My senses were overcome and all I could think was “OMG!” and “WTF!” It was incredible to find out that not only someone other than the two of us do this, but there are thousands upon thousands!”
This highlights the important role sites like these and our very own SkinPick.com play in raising awareness about the condition so that more people may get help. It also shows that each of us as individuals has a role to play. When did you first realize you had a recognized clinical disorder?
Compulsive skin picking is a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) that results in the destruction of one's skin. The face is often times a primary target but other areas of the body can be involved i.e. cuticles, arms, legs or scalp. This behavior is often unconscious or automatic; as an individual may be unaware he or she is engaging in skin picking, and once they have started, it is difficult to interrupt. It can take on a self-perpetuating cycle; individuals engage in the behavior, experience consequences including guilt and shame which is uncomfortable and therefore leads to a repeat of this cycle. When skin picking is done in a compulsive manner it is referred to as dermatillomania and has been classified as a form of an impulse control disorder. There is a high co-morbidity of skin picking in individuals that have obsessive compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder and trichotillomania.
The food we eat inevitably affects our overall health. However we often only attribute the effects of diet to our physical health and neglect to acknowledge the impact it can have on our psychological health as well. There has been an overwhelming influx of research over recent years that suggests poor quality diet increases one’s risk for common psychological disorders such as depression and even compulsive skin picking disorder, now named excoriation disorder. Excoriation Disorder is a serious and poorly understood problem. People who suffer from SPD repetitively touch, rub, scratch, pick at, or dig into their skin, often in an attempt to remove small irregularities or perceived imperfections. Skin picking and other BFRBs can occur when a person experiences feelings such as anxiety, fear, excitement or boredom, and this repetitive behavior can negatively impact a person's social, work, and family relationships.
Compulsive skin picking can be defined simply. It is the uncontrollable picking, touching, rubbing, or scratching of the skin. It is often done in an attempt to remove small, often perceived, imperfections and irregularities. Among the many symptoms of skin picking disorder are discoloration and scarring. In the most serious of cases, severe tissue damage and visible disfigurement are common. Along with the physical symptoms of the disorder come a host of mental and emotional symptoms. Feelings of shame, embarrassment, alienation, and depression often plague those with compulsive skin picking. A feeling of helplessness from not being able to stop or discuss your problem can further contribute to an overall feeling of despair.