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Truly Collaborative Care Delivering Personalized Treatment

SKIN-PICKING

Dermatillomania / Excoriation treatment in Weston, FL

Skin-Picking, as well as skin-biting, are Repetitive Body Focused Behaviors (RBFBs), and when meeting diagnostic criteria for severity and level of interference with life functioning, are found under OCD and Related Conditions in DSM-5. Milder forms basically appear like “nervous habits.” In some cases, they caused by a medical condition, such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis. These symptoms are more common in females.

Most pick at their face or cuticles, but any area of the body can become a focus, even gums. People with this issue often find a new area of their skin to pick if their primary area has become too painful or disfiguring. When it heals, they might go right back to it. Some individuals use their fingers to pick; others use implements like tweezers. Excoriation can reach such a severe level that it requires skin grafts to repair, if this is even possible. Depression and anxiety are common for people with this condition.

How to Recognize Skin-Picking Disorders

Observable, physical problems that the affected individual often attempts to hide or “explain away” often accompany skin-picking and skin-biting. These include sores and scars. They can also result in medical problems, such as serious infections. Shaming or trivializing this behavior can prevent seeking needed help.

Stress or feeling bored can trigger or worsen excoriation. This symptom has also been associated with perfectionism. For example, the affected person might notice a “flaw” in their skin and pick at it or bite it in an attempt to get it to “look” or “feel” right. Sometimes, this has a sensory component; it can be performed “ritualistically” too. Understanding excoriation can be confusing, as some individuals say picking gives them pain. However, others actually say they find it pleasurable, which makes it resemble an addiction in some respects. Many with excoriation are acutely aware when they pick, but others report little or no awareness.

Recommended Treatment

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), specifically habit reversal training (HRT) has been shown to help this problem. In this treatment, the person learns to increase awareness of “triggers,” manage his or her “urges,” and how to employ “competing behaviors.” They also learn how to modify self-defeating ideas that could negatively impact their motivation and consistency in using effective strategies. There are certain medications that can also be helpful in helping reduce picking behaviors.

The behavioral health specialists at The Neurobehavioral Institute in Weston can help you or a loved one learn more about this condition and how to overcome it. Call us at (954) 280-3226.

Inspirational Stories

  • “I finally found doctors who understood me and my thoughts. I had felt so alone, helpless and scared. After meeting Dr Moritz I was at ease, she and the other doctors at NBI were all trained in the treatment of OCD.”

    M.L.

  • “Went above and beyond for me and my family, and would not accept anything less than seeing me through to a healthy life.”

    E.S.

  • “The excellent care I received at the hands of NBI’s skilled and experienced practitioners made a real difference.”

    M.T.

  • “My life changed for the better, plain and simple.”

    R.H

  • CogMed Working Memory Training
  • Association of Psychology Postdoctoral Internship Centers (APPIC
  • American Board of Professional Psychology
  • International OCD Foundation