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.
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The sad reality is that most compulsive skin picking suffers spend an amount of hours in the morning getting ready, or at night before I they to bed when staring at themselves down in the mirror and pick until pores ooze and skin is puffy and red. And unfortunately, no amount of pain or embarrassment can help stop the picking. This is one of the many reasons that friend and families of compulsive skin picking sufferers need to try and understand how compulsive skin picking influences the daily living of those affected. It does not just stop at understanding what sufferers are going through but offering support and reaching out to them, because at times people are afraid or embarrassed to talk about the disorder.
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.
They have to limit or alter their daily activities often. For example, individuals who picks at their arms may wear long sleeves in the summer to hide fresh self-inflicted wounds or scabs. Someone who compulsively aggravates the skin around their fingers may avoid shaking or holding hands with someone or even resort to wearing gloves when around others. The compulsive picking may also cause physical pain and discomfort that can limit ones day to day activities. For example, someone whose fingertips are raw from constant picking may find writing or typing too painful.