After recognizing the problem, most people want to know how to stop picking. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options becoming available with increased awareness and research. The first step towards treatment involves consulting a physician and mental health professional. It is generally recommended to consult either a family general practitioner, a dermatologist, or a psychotherapist, but medical attention is the first step in determining the depth of the picking problem and its underlying or associated symptoms.
Online Test for Skin Picking
Find out the severity of your symptoms with this free online test
The next step is a thorough assessment by a qualified health care professional from which informs a comprehensive treatment plan. Based on the individual case, treatments to stop skin picking may involve therapy in cognitive and coping skills or in-depth psychological counseling. There is a growing body of evidence indicating picking behaviors are associated with anxiety and mood disorders. This type of disorder is often associated with an imbalance of the brain chemical, serotonin. For this reason, drug therapy involving a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of medication may be beneficial but does not demonstrate effectiveness in all cases.
In cases where acne blemishes trigger picking, surgical draining of the blemishes may help eliminate the targeted picking zone. Corticosteroids, antibiotics, and chemical peels may help to minimize outbreaks, allowing time to address the psychological issues involved and develop new habits so future acne flare-ups will be less tempting.
When behaviors do not involve acne, such as scalp picking, nail-biting, and scab picking, therapeutic techniques include avoidance or substitution therapies. Avoidance therapies help the patient acknowledge the problem, identify the triggers, and learn coping skills that can be used when the urge to pick strikes. Once the person can recognize the problem, he or she can then choose to review the situation that triggers the urge to pick and psychologically work through those issues to eliminate or minimize the habitual behavior.
Substitution therapies also focus on the cause-and-effect nature of the disorder and help the person find safer methods to deal with the associated inner turmoil. A new, safer, and more socially acceptable habit may be implemented in order to remove the picking from the patient’s repertoire of coping skills.
A 12-step program, similar to that developed by Alcoholics Anonymous, is frequently cited as a successful spiritual-based approach for how to stop picking. These programs are valuable for the open discussion encouraged among kindred spirits. Today’s online support groups can also provide a valuable avenue of sharing with others facing similar situations. Many people look to prayer and meditation to strengthen their spiritual and physical lives. By enjoying these two activities on a daily basis, many people afflicted with skin picking disorders are finding ways to stop skin picking at the same time they are learning to embrace their spiritual natures.
Whichever method is chosen to stop picking, improving the quality of one’s regular diet and exercise regimen are almost always beneficial. Diet and exercise are instrumental in shaping our bodies, and utilizing a nutritious diet in conjunction with healthy exercise will help with any body dysmorphic tendencies which encourage the picking. A healthy diet will also improve the imperfections of the skin and add strength and luster to the skin, hair, and nails. It will also fortify the fuel feeding the brain and improve mood, so the compulsion to pick will become easier to overcome as the patient’s mental outlook becomes more positive. Recent studies have shown that routine, moderate exercise is almost as effective as taking SSRIs to improve symptoms of depression. A brisk walk every day or so may be instrumental to feelings of well being, optimism, and higher self-esteem.
These techniques briefly mentioned here do not include all options possible for those seeking help to stop skin picking and research continues to support more.
For comprehensive information about effective treatment methods for compulsive skin picking , get the Complete Guide to Picking Disorders today.