Excoriation disorder or otherwise known as, skin-picking disorder or dermatillomania, affects about 2% of the adult population over their lifetimes. It can be a bothersome disturbance which often occurs without full awareness of the one who does it. It is usually connected to some level of anxiety which is exacerbated by heightened levels of stress. Its habitual nature can lead to significant levels which may include picking which causes physical pain and can lead to scarring.
While most individuals are fairly open about this behavior if asked by a professional, many medical professionals do not ask in an intake session or do not explore the behavior fully. So the first tip in addressing this is to let your medical provider know if this behavior is a concern of yours.
Recommended therapy includes a combination of traditional cognitive therapy (replacement of irrational thoughts with rational), behavioral exposure and response prevention (acceptance of the feeling while changing the behavior).
Tips for Dealing with a Skin Picking Disorder:
1. Become aware of the amount of time spent skin picking
2. Become aware of events, thoughts or feelings which may result in picking.
3. Become aware of activities done in which skin picking does not occur.
4. Try to increase time in activities in which skin picking does not occur.
5. Learn relaxation techniques and practice them to develop a less anxious life style.
Talk to your healthcare provider, or therapist, about your problem. The staff at Providers For Healthy Living are available to answer any questions.
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