The term skin picking disorder (SPD) or otherwise known as dermatillomania is determined by the compulsive or obsessive picking of the skin. Those with this type of disorder often have feelings of anxiety, stress, and tension that will show tendencies of having an uncontrollable urge of picking, scratching, and squeezing of their own skin. This obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) tendencies are often focused on locations with perceived or actual defects.
Although the face is the most common targeted location, other frequent spots include the arms, back, chest, lips, shoulders, and stomach. People with dermatillomania OCD repetitively focus their picking on these common areas, but when these favorite parts become damaged due to the excessive picking action, they allow them to heal first before picking on them again.
Diagnosis for Dermatillomania OCD
The process of diagnosing this type of disorder is somewhat complicated. Accordingly, some experts claim that dermatillomania OCD may just be the symptom of another type of disorder or that it might only be a case of bad habit. Such can be characterized closely to nose-picking or nail-biting.
A person is said to have this condition if they show no other symptoms that will lead them to perform skin picking. That is because some medical conditions might trigger them to show dermatillomania OCD tendencies if they have diabetes, eczema, liver disease or psoriasis.
In order to fully understand and diagnose this type of disorder, different scales will be the basis of scientists and doctors. These scales include the Milwaukee Inventory for the Dimensions of Adult Skin-Picking and the Skin-Picking Impact Scale. Both were designed for the purpose of tracking and measuring the impact of dermatillomania OCD in terms of the patient’s behavioral, emotional, and social context.
Treatment of Dermatillomania OCD
Although being a common disorder, only little information was revealed regarding the effective remedy. The current medications are broken in two categories, including behavioral therapy and pharmacological therapy. The problem with patients having this type of disorder is that they fail to seek treatment. One of the reasons is that such disorders are not widely recognized. Moreover, those who are suffering from this will feel alienated or embarrassed. Still others are uncertain that there is actually any real treatment for it. As a matter of fact, only a tiny portion of those suffering from dermatillomania OCD have sought treatment.
Compared to pharmacological treatment, behavioral treatment for this type of disorder are more common. Such treatments include acceptance-enhanced behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and habit-reversal training. Among these types of treatment, habit-reversal training show great promise and effectiveness. Another effective method is occupying the hands of patients with fidget toys all throughout the day.
The very common method of medication for dermatillomania OCD is the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. According to research, this was found out to be highly potent for the treatment of OCD. However, support from clinical studies for this type of treatment is uncertain as it will still require tests with double-blind placebos to be completed.