Body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) is a general term that refers to any repetitive self-grooming action, such as pulling, picking, biting or scraping of hair, skin, or nails. The main difference between normal grooming behaviors and a BFRB is the level of distress it can cause and interference with overall functioning. The two most common BFRB's are trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder) and excoriation (skin picking disorder).
Trichotillomania is characterized by the repetitive pulling out of one's hair. Common areas of pulling include the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Individuals with trichotillomania often experience considerable tension and difficulty resisting the urge to pull their hair but experience a sense of relief afterward which continues this cycle.
CBT for trichotillomania helps individuals become aware of environmental cues, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, physical actions, and sensory experiences that lead to pulling and learning how to engage in more adaptive behaviors to relieve tension, anxiety, and stress.
Excoriation involves the repetitive picking of one's skin. This can be triggered by noticing bug bites, scabs, ingrown hairs, pimples, or targeting other parts of the skin during periods of stress. The most common sites are the face, arms, legs, and hands. Skin picking can cause significant distress, low self-esteem, and disrupt normal life functioning.
Similar to CBT for trichotillomania, treatment for excoriation entails understanding the unique combination of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and environmental variables that contribute to an individual picking at their skin.
If you suffer from a BFRB, please know that it can be treated.
Contact me for a free consultation and we can get started on your treatment.