Myths surrounding dermatillomania

Dermatillomania or skin picking disorder is a condition in which patients pick their skin for several reasons . It has been classified as a obsessive compulsive disorder in the most recent version of the diagnosis and stastics manual DSM 5. Just like most psychiatric pathologies , there is not enough public awareness nor campaigns to let people know about mental illness , clear possible misconceptions surrounding it , and encourage people to seek medical attention.

Here are 6 False Facts about Dermatillomania:

1 – Skin picking is just a bad habit:

There is a difference between popping your acne breakouts from to time and having dermatillomania. The latter is an obsessive NEED to repeatedly excoriate blemishes and lesions that might be found on one’s skin . Skin pickers , see themselves being anxious and they can calm down only when the one spot they got their eyes on is gone .And it can also happen without the subject even noticing it , for example , while watching TV or even sleeping . It can be any part of the body , face , legs , lips , scalp . The excoriated spot heals and leaves a scar or a scab which will trigger another picking session , and this alone is enough to keep the vicious cycle alive .

2- Skin pickers do it for attention :

Taking that scar excoriation results in visible scars , people mistakenly think it is for attention . What you should know is most patients feel a lot of shame when they see their bleeding spots , hate themselves for doing that and try the best they can to hide their scars , with makeup or clothes .

3- They can just stop doing it :

If it were that simple , don’t you think they would already have done it ? It is an obsessive compulsive disorder , which means UNCONTROLLABLE ( but  not untreatable) , most skin pickers don’t even realize they’re doing it ,those who do feel an irresistible urge to pick their skin . Getting rid of this condition is feasible .

4-The a consequence of an underlying skin issue ( psoriasis , eczema) :

Dermatillomania is psychiatric condition not a dermatological one . The treatment therefore is more axed on cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants .

Most skin pickers , first started picking around puberty when they found small imperfections to get rid of , but no serious issue that would actually trigger the picking itself .

5- Skin pickers excoriate blemishes that are not even there ( they’re experiencing a psychosis and see breakouts) :

Dermatillomania patients are not psychotic . The lesions they excoriate are real , they are not a product of imagination . It can be the tiniest bump , an ingrown hair , a scab , a mosquito bite anything . But there are real lesions not fake ones . Pickers often find themselves looking in the mirror or going with their fingers all over their bodies looking for a spot to pick

6- The excoriating episode occurs when the subjects are under influence :

No, no, no, and no.

Drug addicts who use meth may pick they skin while being under the effect of the drug as they see bug under their skin or other imaginary things , but once the effect of the drug wears off , there is no more picking . Quite the opposite of people suffering from SPD , the episodes are caused by an underlying anxiety or depression or triggered by external stressing factors , strong emotions .

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