He goes under the blog name Bleachnjam. He’s not a doctor or a therapist or indeed any type of professional that assists with Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRB’s), but those who suffer with the disorders are the experts when it comes to understanding how to respond to someone who picks. There are a huge number of people worldwide who are silently suffering from BFRB disorders and who desperately need to be understood. After over twenty years of suffering from dermatillomania, a condition which causes the sufferer to pick at the skin from anywhere on their body, he started an online journal to help raise awareness on skin picking. He found that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), where sufferers are encouraged to focus on their thoughts, behaviours and feelings, was the most effective form of therapy to help him deal with his disorder. In a recent blog post, he addresses the family, friends and colleagues who don't know how to respond when seeing the person picking and gives advice on how to react when they see someone picking.
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If you know someone who just cannot seem to stop picking at his skin, don’t just tell him to stop. Text him or get his attention in some way. If that doesn’t work, gently touch his hand or the area he’s picking to draw his focus to what he’s doing so that he can stop.
Many pickers are unaware of the times they pick, so don’t just grab his hand as it will cause him to start and become angry. Skin pickers do not indulge in the behaviour on purpose, rather it is a habit like tapping your feet or shaking your legs. He does control the urge to pick as much as he can, so don’t make him feel bad about it or think it’s him self-harming. In fact it’s the opposite, a self-soothing technique that is a reaction to anxiety, or stressful situations.
The physical effects of picking is already a shameful reality for someone with a skin picking disorder so do not point out any scabs or band aids you might see on him as a result of the picking.
A key aspect of recovery is for the person to develop an awareness if their picking patterns and behaviors. Being aware of what triggers the urge to pick, empowers the person to take proactive steps to prevent the urge to pick inthe first place. With support and encouragement many skin pickers are able to reduce or even completely eradicate the picking behavior completely.