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Treating Compulsive Skin Picking

Compulsive Skin Picking is a condition often hidden by the person who is compelled to continue this harmful behaviour. It can affect anyone at any time.

What may well begin as an apparently innocent activity - an attempt to remove and deal with small skin imperfections and irregularities - can all too soon turn into a compulsion that leaves the individual feeling powerless and confused.

The person who picks compulsively at their skin can spend extended periods of time engaged in this activity and this can have negative consequences for his or her work and social relationships.

In severe instances, this often poorly understood condition can result in severe skin damage leading to actual disfigurement.

Usually, the person suffering from this compulsive disorder repeatedly scratches, picks, rubs or digs their nails into the skin. Often this behaviour can be triggered by stress and underlying emotional difficulties such as anxiety, fear or simply boredom.

Modern thinking on CSP or dermotillomania is that it belongs to a group of disorders known as Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours or BFRBs. Other conditions belonging to this group are such things as chronic nail biting and compulsive hair pulling.

It is important that anyone engaging in compulsive skin picking consult a medical doctor so that any possible medical condition can be eliminated.

This is necessary in order to make sure that the skin picking activity is a seperate issue and not a symptom of some other more serious underlying disorder such as an autoimmune or developmental problem.

Many people find that they begin to pick at their skin during a stressful period in their lives.

Through repetition, the individual learns that by picking at their skin they can control or at least distract themselves from difficult feelings. And so the skin picking becomes a habit.

Others may have started picking at skin following some kind of skin disease or injury. As the wound to the skin begins to heal a scab forms which can feel itchy. This may provoke the individual to scratch or pick which in turn prevents the wound from healing completely. And this in turn leads on to even more itching and picking as further scabbing occurs.

Often the medical response to dermotillomania is to prescribe a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor such as Prozac. This approach has had limited success, but works only at the actual symptom level. It does little or nothing about the underlying drivers and causes.

Other approaches include cognitive behavioral therapy, including Habit Reversal Training (HRT) which aims at identifying triggers and teaching the individual coping strategies. This approach has also had some success, but again, it focuses on managing the actual symptoms, rather than dealing with the real underlying drivers and cause.

In the opinion of this therapist, a much more comprehensive and effective approach is to uncover the actual cause of the skin picking through the use of skillfully applied advanced hypnotherapy techniques.

The skin picking activity is obviously being driven by a subconscious urge and so it is to the subconscious mind that we need to turn in order to bring about a solution to this harmful behaviour.

Once the underlying drivers and the actual reasons for the existence of the CSP have been disclosed, then the subconscious can be helped to re-allign itself and the skin picking behaviour becomes extinct or can be replaced with a more effective way of releasing stress and anxiety etc.

If you or someone you care about suffers from compulsive skin picking, picking at skin or dermotillomania, and you really do want to stop skin picking, do not despair, help is available.

With modern advanced hypnotherapy you can end compulsive skin picking, regain control and live your life free of this debilitating habit.

About Author Peter James Field :

A leading British hypnotherapist, with practices in London and Birmingham, UK, Peter Field is a Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. In order for you to try hypnosis firsthand, Peter offers a FREE hypnosis download at <a href="" target="_blank"></a> or for more of his interesting and informative articles please visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

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Article Added on Saturday, August 29, 2009
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