It is normal for people to scratch their skin or perhaps pick at a scab if it feels itchy. However, skin picking when it becomes excessive and persistent can cause serious problems such as breaks in the skin, open sores, or infection. When skin picking is this excessive it is diagnosed as Dermatillomania or excoriation disorder.
Signs you have Dermatillomania (excessive skin picking):
- Skin picking has caused breaks in your skin or your skin looks raw and tender.
- You feel out of control or ashamed about how much time you spend picking your skin.
- You have not been able to cut back even though you know you should.
- You hide the affected area of your body by wearing gloves or long sleeves, or using makeup.
- The picking seems to happen by itself and you don’t realize it has been going on until some time has passed.
- When you try to resist picking you feel strong tension or discomfort.
Treatment for Skin Picking Disorder
Excessive skin picking often first occurs during adolescence. For periods of time it may get worse or somewhat better but the disorder tends to be chronic unless the sufferer has received appropriate treatment.
The good news is that there are very effective treatments for excessive skin picking. Our therapists know how to help. They can teach you a combination of self control techniques based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and habit reversal training (HRT).