"I mostly choose my face," says Daniela G., who suffers from a skin picking disorder, to SELF. "But also my scalp, my back and my chest. For me, scarring is the most excruciating part. They are not deep scars, but I have many of them. “28-year-old Daniela is among the estimated 2 to 5 percent of those affected, who are also referred to as excoriation disorders or dermatillomania. Despite the number of people, skin removal disorders are often misunderstood – sometimes even by therapists. "It is rare for me to find someone who has actually heard of it, even professionals," says Daniela.
Some people tend to dismiss skin pick disorders as another bad habit. Who hasn't pounded a Zit or pulled it continuously on a cuticle? But compulsive skin pecking is a recognized mental disorder with potentially life-changing consequences, such as painful wounds and serious infections. People cannot “just stop” and instead need special treatment to relieve their symptoms.
And in a gruesome twist, the coronavirus pandemic can drastically exacerbate compulsive skin pecking, just like so many other insane health conditions. Read on to find out what an excoriation disorder really is and what isn't, why the pandemic can make life with this disease more difficult than usual and what you can do to deal with it.
Skin pick disorder is a physical disorder. focused repetitive behavior or BFRB.
BFRB is an umbrella term for various types of compulsive self-care. According to the TLC Foundation for BFRBs, this can include a variety of behaviors such as biting, pulling, picking, and scraping any part of the body. Other BFRBs include trichotillomania (hair pulling), cheek biting, and onychophagia (nail biting).
BFRBs are classified in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual for Mental Disorders [obsessive-compulsiveandrelateddisorders” (the official guide to diagnosing mental illness in the United States). However, this does not mean that BFRBs are identical to OCD. "Failure to use compulsion in obsessive-compulsive disorder causes tremendous anxiety," Laura Santner, L.C.S.W., a clinical social worker and therapist trained by the TLC Foundation and trained at the TLC Foundation, told SELF. "A BFRB is very uncomfortable, but there is no feeling that something bad will happen if you do not engage in the behavior," says Santner, who himself has trichotillomania.
Of course it is quite possible to get involved with your skin without BFRB. When does this behavior cross the line to a malfunction?
"It is very common to pick pimples, blisters and crusts," says Santner. "What makes it a disorder is when it affects your daily life and causes significant stress, such as when you don't want to go to work because you feel ashamed or hurt." According to the TLC Foundation, other diagnostic criteria for skin removal disorders include repeated attempts to stop picking that are intense enough to damage the skin and symptoms that have no other cause, such as: B. substance use or another mental disorder.
Experts are not sure why some people develop dermatillomania and others do not, although there appears to be a genetic component, Santner says. And although not everyone pecks for the same reasons, common triggers are difficult or stressful emotions, your skin feel or the appearance of a particular species that forces you to choose, and thinking that your skin is in a certain way feels or looks like if you choose it according to the TLC Foundation. Depending on what triggers you, you may be concentrating intensely on the action (e.g. picking while staring at your skin in a magnifying mirror), or picking the skin may be completely unconscious. "It is something that we are often unaware of until we have already done it," says Daniela. "Sometimes you do it while doing something else, like reading, or you're just in a trance-like state. It's very frustrating."