adastra
A:

Hi adastra,

Nice to meet you.

I have had a couple of clients with this condition. I can't recommend how you should be treated, but I can tell you what we worked on together.

Both clients were very anxious. They had grown up in homes where their parents were anxious as well. They used skin picking as a way of coping with anxious feelings. Whenever they felt anxious, they began picking their skin.

Here is a link to a website you might find helpful, just in case you haven't checked it out already:

https://www.skinpick.com/dermatillomania

Both of them benefitted from cognitive behavior therapy. They learned to recognize thought patterns that led to skin picking. Basically, they identified their triggers for skin picking, and then learned healthier ways of coping when they were triggered. This included recognizing anxious thoughts and changing those thoughts, basically talking back to their anxiety. They also learned how to distract themselves from skin picking. And they learned to soothe themselves when they were anxious, without skin picking. One of these clients also chose to go on an anxiety medication.

I am not an expert in this condition and I can't recommend what you should do without knowing you. But the research I have read generally discusses behavioral therapy and medication as ways to treat it, either separate or in combination, as you will see on the website I suggested.

What I would encourage you to do is to get connected with a mental health professional. A clinician could help you to understand what's behind this condition and work with you on a way forward. A mental health professional could also help you decide if you wanted to consider medication or not. If you are on health insurance, you can check out the list of mental health providers on the health insurer's website. Or, you can talk to your physician and see if he/she can make a referral for you.

I hope you will reach out and get some help. What you are experiencing is treatable.

Take good care of yourself!

Gary

Answered By Answered by Dr GaryCA
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