Compulsive skin picking “Dermatillomania" is an impulse control disorder that is in the form of self-injury. This problem usually stems from Body dimorphic disorder.
People, who struggle with a skin picking disorder, find it stress reliving or gratifying, yet still physically painful. Some researchers believe that this problem may also be a biological problem, connected to the genes and hereditary factors, but it is mostly associated with an imbalance of the brain chemical Serotonin.
Areas that are usually “picked at" include the face, gums, lips, back, shoulders, scalp, stomach, chest and extremities such as the cuticles and nails. Symptoms in these areas will usually include swelling, scarring, bleeding and callusing.
Persons struggling with this disorder will sometimes try to camouflage the damage they have inflicted on themselves. They may even avoid being social and isolate themselves as a result.
This damaging behaviour can cause deep permanent scaring of the skin and also cause recurrent skin infections.
Reasons for Obsesive Skin Picking
• Trying to self-sooth: Picking at skin in these individuals, has a soothing, calming effect.
• Stimulation: Some individuals use skin picking as a way to stimulate themselves when they are bored.
• Perfectionism: A person with a picking skin disorder will try to fix any irregularity on their skin, but instead just damage the skin even more despite their efforts.
How to Stop Skin Picking & Treatment options
• Medication: Antidepressant meds and mood stabilizers.
• Psychotherapy: To help with emotional issues that might be causing the problem.
- Include methods to help the person relax and feel centred.
- Make the person more aware of their actions so that they can prevent the damaging behaviour.
- Helps them realize what the triggers are and how to avoid them.
- Giving them something to replace the bad habit with, like a hobby or something to keep their hands busy with.
• Hypnosis: A qualified hypnotherapist or psychotherapist can help. Self-hypnosis has also been used to help these patients.
• 12 step Anonymous addictive behaviour programs are often used to help those struggling with these issues. There are online chat rooms and meetings that can help as well.
• Including prayer and meditation in their daily lives can help.
• A healthy diet is needed for mental clarity.
• Moderate exercise has been found to decrease symptoms of depression.
Stop picking skin! Stop compulsive skin picking with this program…