This is a post by Danielle Kunkle - the co-owner of Boomer Benefits, a licensed insurance agency that helps Baby Boomers navigate their entry into Medicare.
For decades, seniors in the United States had little access to affordable healthcare after they retired. The creation of Medicare in 1965 was a monumental step toward caring for older adults during their later years. Today millions of people depend on Medicare to provide their physical and mental healthcare during their golden years.
The World Health Organization website reported that over 20% of adults age 60 and older suffer from a mental or neurological disorder. Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBS) are one such disorder.
BFRB disorders such as nail-biting, picking one’s skin or pulling one’s hair are harmful and can quickly progress into clinical conditions. Caregivers who are looking after an elderly loved one often notice disorders like skin picking and should immediately bring them to a doctor’s attention so that appropriate care can be found.
Access to behavioral therapy is important in dealing with BFRBs and all other mental health disorders as well. Fortunately, Medicare does recognize the need for mental healthcare as we age and provides coverage for inpatient and outpatient services as well as medications.
Skin picking may start with something mild and harmless but if not treated early it can escalate into a serious clinical condition. When it starts affecting a person’s physical health and/or emotional well-being, it means professional help is needed. There are many therapies and medications that can be used depending on the severity of the condition.
Meditation is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself. Meditation exercises are closely linked to mindfulness and are recommended to help cope with stress related to skin picking. These exercises keep the mind and body healthy. They enable patients to keep busy and replace skin picking with something more positive. Exercise can reduce anxiety and depression. It minimizes skeletal muscle tension and increases metabolism of excess adrenaline and thyroxin in the blood. It even acts as an anti-depressant.
The severity of skin picking differs for everyone. For some it can be so severe that is causes severe scarring and sometimes even infection. This causes great distress for the individual and a question or concern that often comes up is - can skin picking lead to more serious skin conditions like cancer?
There are a lot of myths about compulsive skin picking, it is therefore important to discuss both the myths and facts about the disorder.
Excoriation is a disorder characterized by recurrent skin picking, resulting in skin lesions. Some people with the disorder say that picking at their skin makes them feel good, but everyone affected by the disorder do it intentionally, or consciously; some may not even remember doing it. Onset is most often around puberty.
The face is the most common target of skin picking, but other targets may be limbs, back, gums, lips, shoulders, scalp, stomach, chest, fingernails and toenails. A child may pick at one part of the body repeatedly, or “rotate” to allow the previously picked part to heal. Compulsive skin picking is one of a group of behaviors known as body focused repetitive behaviors (BFBRBs)
Compulsive skin picking is NOT an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but is classified under the umbrella category OCD and Related disorders.
Trichotillomania, also known as Compulsive Hair Pulling Disorder, is characterized by the repetitive pulling out of one’s own hair leading to hair loss and functional impairment. The most common sites pulled include the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes; although any bodily site with hair can be affected. 2-3 pulling from multiple sites is common and pulling episodes can last from a few minutes to several hours. Also under the body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRB) is skin picking disorder, formerly referred to as Dermatillomania, but more recently renamed Excoriation disorder. It is characterized by the repetitive and compulsive picking of skin, leading to tissue damage. Although most individuals at some time pick at their skin, either to smooth out irregularities or to improve blemishes or acne, clinicians must differentiate between normal picking and more clinical forms. We know that both the disorders are under BFRB’s but is there evidence of comorbidity?
video by Annette from http://www.stopskinpickingcoach.com/
There are some unique challenges that come with travelling simply because you have to try and adapt to the new environment and also try and keep your daily routine that you’ve been doing on track. Preparation is there for key, make sure that you are both physically and mentally prepared so that you are sure that you can handle a different environment. intextbanner
At home, you have all your bottles and brushes and jars and cloths and whatever else you need within easy reach. You can take care of your skin like you should, with some products for morning, others at night, and still others for midday refreshers. Everything works like it should, because you know how your skin acts at home. You know the climate and how your skin reacts to it, and when it needs a little more moisture or a serious oil-sopping mask. Your skin thrives with your TLC.
Here are a few tips for skin pickers who are planning to travel soon. Remember: These aren’t meant to be medical recommendations, but they’re tactics that have worked for others and might work for you, too.
Annette Pasternek speaks about New Year's Resolutions and whether it is a good idea to make one to stop picking or not. Annette was a compulsive skin picker and is now helping scores of people through her website and one on one coaching.
According to Annette there is short answer, because it depends on how you support a resolution. If you make a resolution and do nothing further, relying only on will power you are not likely to succeed and this can have negative effects on future efforts to stop. On the other hand making a resolution can be very positive under the right conditions. you need:
Some of the positive changes you could put in place for the year ahead is to learn more about the disorder, seek professional help or support and establish a support network
Rick Hanson is a neuropsychologist and the author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, best selling author of Buddha's Brain, founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and an Affiliate of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, he's been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide.
In this talk, Rick addressed the idea of 'Negativity Bias' and talks about how we can overcome it. People with skin picking disorder often find that negative self talk or negative thought patterns about themselves or their abilities are major triggers for picking. By addressing these negative biases and learning to be objective about our thoughts we are better able to manage these to prevent picking urges. changing one's thought patterns is also the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy, the most effective form or treatment for skin picking and other BFRBs.
Everyone pulls off the odd bit of the skin or squeezes a random pimple. But for some people the squeezing, scratching, or picking becomes an absolutely monstrous compulsive behaviour that threatens to take over their lives. The shame and embarrassment about skin picking causes painful isolation and results in a great deal of emotional distress, placing them at risk for a co-occurring psychiatric disorder, such as a mood or anxiety disorder or even depression. Skin picking can lead to great tension and strained relationships with family members and friends. Furthermore it can lead to the person being affected socially isolating themselves because they fear talking and opening up about the disorder. Skin picking disorder may affect as many as 1 in 20 people. Although it occurs in both woman and men , research suggests that skin picking disorder occurs much more often in women. Skin picking can begin in adulthood or child hood.
Excoriation disorder is also known as dermatillomania, skin picking disorder, neurotic excoriation, acne excoriate, compulsive skin picking or psychogenic excoriation. It is a mental disorder characterized by the urge to pick at one’s own skin, often to the extent that damage is caused. In the event that you live with this challenging condition, you know precisely the sort of crude, painful and difficult toll it takes – both physically and emotionally. A skin picking episode may be a conscious response to anxiety or depression, but is frequently done as an unconscious habit. Those who live with dermatillomania know that the negative effects extend far beyond the physical. Approximately 75% of people with this disorder are women. It occurs in less than two percent of the population. Skin picking often begins during adolescence in response to acne or other skin condition.