What Are Your Treatment Options For Dermatillomania?

Dermatillomania, also known as excoriation disorder or compulsive skin picking, can not only lead to ugly sores, but also dangerous skin infections. This is more than an annoying habit. It's a potentially dangerous compulsion that you know you need to break -- but that's terribly difficult to fight. Here's a look at your treatment options.

Seek cognitive behavioral therapy through a treatment center.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of treatment that relies on teaching you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety in a healthier manner, rather than turning to compulsions like skin picking. This type of therapy is most effective when administered by an experienced therapist. Visit a treatment center for behavioral disorders in your area, and make an appointment. Your therapist may help you go through exercises where you practice ignoring and overcoming your urges to pick. Some of these exercises may be performed during your appointments, while others may be assigned as homework.

Explore stimulus control therapy.

If you see a therapist at a treatment center, they may also guide you through a method called stimulus control therapy to help reduce your skin picking. You may also wish to explore this method on your own. It involves altering your environment so that you are less likely to pick at your skin. For example, you may place a mirror on your desk so that you constantly see the scars on your face and are reminded not to pick and make them worse. You could also wear gloves to make picking harder, or you could put bandages on your marks so you can't keep picking at them.

Consider anti-anxiety medications.

For most sufferers, dermatillomania is a response to anxiety. Your therapist may recommend a medication to help get your anxiety under control. With less anxiety, you will be less likely to pick at your skin. Even if you are not prescribed anxiety medications, there are a few steps you can take to reduce anxiety naturally:

  • Get more sleep. Most people feel more relaxed and less anxious when they're well rested.
  • Exercise regularly. It prompts your body to produce endorphins, which are natural hormones that stabilize your mood.
  • Talk about your problems. Tell a trusted friend about your concerns and worries. Bottling it up inside will just make you more anxious.

Dermatillomania can interfere with your life and your overall health. Don't ignore this serious behavior. Explore these and other treatment options today.