In this clip we see an excoriation disorder sufferer, Angela Hartlin, who has come to terms with the effect that her condition is having on her body. While she has sought assistance form a doctor, she has unfortunately been met with an assumption that she could just simply stop picking by being told to do so. It is sad to see that her doctor was not able to correctly treat her or able to refer her to a therapist that could more effectively treat and assist her and the condition that she has.
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This highlights an important situation that sufferers face; finding health professionals that can accurately diagnose, and then treat that condition or refer the sufferer to an appropriate practitioner. The impact of getting this wrong is that people with these types of conditions remain untreated, which places them at risk of their condition becoming more severe. Excoriation disorder, previously known as Dermatillomania, is a condition that is impairs sufferers socially, and so many do not seek medical assistance as they feel embarrassed by the harm they have inflicted on themselves. Having medical professionals that are unable to determine if the skin picking is harmful, is concerning as so many could go untreated or incorrectly treated.
While her bravery in presenting herself and her condition publicly is to be commended, what is especially encouraging to see, is the audience and viewers response to her in the positive. As noted by the panellists, it is easy to empathise with the sufferer as we have all picked at some point; however our behaviour was not as extreme as hers is. Her condition, as is typical as with other sufferers, was not in isolation. She also suffers from other Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRBs), such as Trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling). Having said this, how do we decide that our behaviour is within the confines of normal, and at which point does it become problematic. While there is no general consensus as to where this point is, it is clear to see, that her condition is quite severe, and had she not been brave and spoken her out her condition could potentially have worsened. This further highlights the point made above that medical professionals can incorrectly diagnose and treat this condition. Further research needs to be conducted in order to determine this point so as to assist professionals in providing quality of care in this regard. The good news is that media features such as this one is putting skin picking disorder and other BFRBs at the forefront, attracting alot of interest in research, and consequently development of treatment methods for these disorders.