Skin picking disease, also called dermatillomania or excoriation disorder, is a mental illness related to obsessive-compulsive disorder. This disorder is characterized by the need for repeated picking at one’s skin which results in areas of swollen or broken skin and can cause disruption to one’s life. This disorder is a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) that often begins in adolescence or after puberty but can also occur in children or adults.    DCSI offers help for those who are dealing with a skin-picking disease as well as other dermatology services.

Compulsive Picking Disorder Causes

While there are no specific causes for this compulsive picking disorder, there are some factors that could influence the development of this condition:  
  • Stress, Anxiety, and Similar Conditions: Skin picking disease can be formed as a coping mechanism for other mental health issues or challenges.
  • Genetics: People who deal with excoriation disorder may likely have at least one relative (parent or sibling) who also has it. 
  • Change in brain structure: Individuals who pick at their skin could also have some critical differences in the structure of their brain areas that control how they learn or form habits. 

Severe Picking Disorder Symptoms

There are signs and symptoms to look out for to get a diagnosis of this skin-picking disease.    Symptoms:   
  • Repeated tries to stop the behavior. 
  • Distress or impairment caused by the symptoms. 
  • Recurrent picking causes lesions on the skin.
  • No found substance, medical, dermatological, or any other psychiatric disorders or conditions.
  There are ways to treat these symptoms and this disease. 

Obsessive Picking Disorder Treatments 

There are medications, plus cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven to be an effective treatment for skin-picking diseases. They reduce symptoms of the disorder and help to form healthier habits.    Medication:
  • Some treatments include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of antidepressant known to help reduce obsessive and compulsive thoughts and behaviors.
  Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy:
  • CBT can help people understand their behavior and thought patterns concerning the disorder. It can also help to form healthier coping skills to avoid skin picking. 

Contact Us

Our offices are here to offer help to those dealing with skin-picking diseases and other dermatological conditions. If you have any further questions or concerns, contact us today or click here to make an appointment.