One of our clients with Skin Picking Disorder ( aka Dermatillomania ) recently wrote this essay about her long-standing issues with her dermatologist. She has asked to remain anonymous. 

Dermatillomania: A Skin Picker's Guide to the Dermatologist

Those struggling with Dermatillomania (Skin Picking Disorder) often have complicated feelings about their dermatologists.

A skin picker’s relationship with their dermatologist is, to put it lightly, fraught.

It’s a vicious cycle:

The skin picker picks their skin.
The skin picker is unhappy with the way their skin looks.
The skin picker goes to the dermatologist.
The dermatologist, with the medical authority of a white lab coat, tells the picker:
“Don’t pick.”
The picker spirals into shame.

Next time there is a problem, the picker avoids the dermatologist.
Then, maybe, the picker’s picking results in an infection.
The picker remembers:
“Don’t pick.”
“Don’t pick.”
“Don’t pick.”
Those words ring in the picker’s head.
No way is the picker going back there.
All that waits at the dermatologist is more humiliation.

Read More »

    

Skin Picking Disorder (Dermatillomania)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for Skin Picking Disorder (Dermatillomania)

In our previous article on Skin Picking Disorder (also known as Dermatillomania or Excoriation),  we wrote about a classification system for skin picking. Let’s review “The ABC’s of Skin Picking”:

An “A” is something that almost anyone would pick. This could be a piece of dry skin hanging off your arm, a pus-filled whitehead on your chin that pops at your mere touch, or a scab that’s barely hanging on which you can easily detach.

A “B” is a “bump”, pimple, scab, etc. that only a skin picker would pick, frequently causing it to bleed, ooze, scab, and possibly become infected. This in turn will cause two additional problems – it will cause the picker significant distress, and it will give him or her something new to pick at later. In our experience, clients with Dermatillomania classify at least 50% of their picking as “B’s”. Read More »

    

Skin Picking / Dermatillomania

Not all skin picking is the same.

Everybody picks their skin sometimes, right?  If you tell your friends or family that you pick your skin, many of them might say “Oh, I do that, too”.  So, how do you know if your skin picking is severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of Dermatillomania, also known as Skin Picking Disorder or Excoriation?

There are a variety of ways in which assessment of skin picking occurs. Self-assessment might occur by the person doing the skin picking when an individual realizes that he or she is causing scabs, scars, and/or infections. A person with Dermatillomania may also be aware that he or she is avoiding social situations, including work, school, and/or social functions such as weddings and parties.  After all, those who have picked to the point of bleeding and scabbing may be too embarrassed to be seen by others who might judge them or ask questions about their skin. Read More »

    

“If I knew then what I know now.”

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve found yourself saying the same thing at some point in your adult life.  Nowhere is this more relevant than from the perspective of someone looking back on a childhood with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or an Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorder.  When I meet a new client under 18, there is a powerful sense of traveling through time.  I think, “If only I had someone like me to go back and talk to me when I was someone like this.” How much time might I have saved being able to resist repetitive, unnecessary rituals?  How many more events, relationships, and simple moments of peace might I have been able to enjoy if only I had known what was really happening to me? Read More »

    

My wife and I recently became vegetarians.  Well, she started using the word “vegetarian” to describe already never eating meat.  For me it required more of a lifestyle change.  I grew up on a small beef cattle farm, so I was used to the idea that you could grow meat the same way you grow vegetables.  Throughout my life it always felt as if meat was how one defined the difference between a “snack” and a “meal”.  So as part health experiment and part social consciousness attempt, I have given up meat for the time being.

At first I felt like I was denying myself something purely enjoyable.  I’m used to it, I like it, so why don’t I just do it?  Saying, “I want to change” or “I’m not happy with the consequences” doesn’t seem to be much comfort.  However, nearly 4 months into this experiment, I now get what can only be described as a “resistor’s high” – an addictive satisfaction derived from choosing not to eat meat. Read More »

    

For individuals who suffer with Trichotillomania, the urge to pull their own hair can be overwhelming.  While this might seem to many like a bizarre, self-destructive behavior, to those with Trichotillomania, this powerful urge can leave them with large bald spots on their scalp, no eyebrows, or no eyelashes.

Fortunately, researchers are starting to learn more about the origin of the disorder and possible treatments.  One recent study conducted at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine in Minneapolis has uncovered a promising potential avenue for future treatment of this condition. Read More »

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