I am a non-gender binary 15 year old. I’ve recently learned of dermatillomania and think I do have it. I was wondering if you could provide me with your opinion? I was sexually abused when I was 12 and ever since then I’ve had a compulsion to picking my skin. It’s become an obsession. I’ll sit in front of the mirror for hours on end just picking and picking. I have scabs and scars all over my face and am starting to develop them on my arms and legs. I’ve mentioned it briefly to my mother who expressed her distaste and refused to get me the help I think I need. I guess what I’m asking is…is it possible I have dermatillomania? And if so what are some actions I can take to stop this? I am ashamed at myself for developing this condition and I just want it to disappear. Thank you for any insight you can provide me with.
Yes. It’s likely you have excoriation disorder. It is a form of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and is often accompanied with anxiety. It may be that the trauma of the abuse triggered anxiety that you are expressing through the compulsion. It also may be having an impact on your sexuality.
The good news is that there is help for it. A combination of medication to reduce the anxiety and cognitive behavioraltherapy to manage the obsessional thinking is the best treatment.
Please share this letter with your mom. If you could have stopped this on your own, you would have done it already. There is no shame in getting help for something that there is help for. Ask your doctor or school counselor for the names of therapists who work with adolescents who have a trauma history.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Do I Have Dermatillomania?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Do I Have Dermatillomania?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/04/15/do-i-have-dermatillomania-2/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.