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Pick and Peel , 06 Nov 2010

Dermatillomania: How many psychologists accept it?

My mom might send me to a therapist or something because my picking has gotten so out of control. So I was wondering--how many mental health professionals actually know of and accept dermatillomania as an actual mental disorder? Is it taught in schools? Or is it still kind of on the fringe of being accepted? Thanks for any answers in advance.
3 Answers
November 06, 2010
It may not be accepted under the name dermatillomania, but most if not all accept it under the OCD spectrum.
November 18, 2010
Dermatillomania is not really recognized by a lot of psychologists. As so many of us feel shame and embarrassment I wonder how many of us have actually sought professional help? As we deal with the shame and let others around us know of this problem, hopefully it will be more reconized and there will be more help available. So, be brave and let people know you need help. You might like to write it in a letter and send it to professionals and also do this for the people around you if you find it difficult to express to them face to face. I had kept this addiction to myself for many years until I slowly started telling my close friends about it. They haven't rejected me, they have been very supportive. I'm now in the process of getting the help I need to end this for good.
November 24, 2010
If I may, let me suggest you see a psychiatrist as opposed to a psychologist. My psychologist actually sent me to meet with a psychiatrist when I told him of my CSP. Psychologists tend to deal with emotional issues and relationships, but psychiatrists have a deeper understanding of and training in neurological and behavioral disorders. While I don't visit with the psychiatrist regularly, he did diagnose my issue and explain it to me. Every creature is neurologically hard-wired with a grooming instinct (think about the grooming/picking behavior of monkeys). And virtually every animal has specimens where that instinct is over-hyped. He told me of countless scientific studies that show birds, monkeys, dogs, etc., who literally "groom" themselves bald. It is the same instinct that it is in humans, but human behavior is further agitated by complex emotional and psychological issues. This made perfect sense to me, and I'll admit that it was reassuring to realize that although at times I do feel like am certifiably insane for picking myself raw, there is a certain part of it that is just out of my control. Like depression or anxiety, you can undergo cognitive and behavioral therapy to minimize the behavior, but you cannot eliminate or "cure" it completely. I think you are correct when you point out that many health professionals do not understand this behavior. Even my dermatologist doesn't seem to grasp fully the nature of my behavior. I just see him get more impatient with me at every visit even though there is some overall improvement and I tell him what I'm doing to try to stop picking. It is frustrating for both of us, and it makes me dread going to see him even though I need the treatments (for my scars). So if you aren't getting a proper response from your doctors, consider making an appt with a psychiatrist who specializes in OCD-related behaviors. Best of luck for you!

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