advertisement
Home » Ask the Therapist » Do I Have Skin Picking Disorder?

Do I Have Skin Picking Disorder?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

Ok, so I’ve noticed that I unconsciously bite/rip my lips(i have very dry lips, and bleed easily) and nails and the skin around them, and when I have a panic attack(because of entomophobia I think?) I tend to scratch the dip between my collarbones till the skin bleeds(plus I have really thin skin). I also sometimes do this unconsciously(not as vigorously though). been looking into it, but i don’t know if it’s skin picking disorder. I’ve taken several tests online that say i have a great chance of having it, but as the tests say “I shouldn’t take the tests as a diagnosis, and should seek a professional” I’m too anxious to see my doctor about this, so I’m asking here.. do i have skin picking disorder? (From Norway)

Do I Have Skin Picking Disorder?

Answered by on -

A.

I admire your courage in coming to PsychCentral to deal with this question and you searching for information. While online quizzes and tests shouldn’t be used to diagnose, they are a great way to see if you meet the criteria for a particular disorder. From your description and results of these tests, it is safest to proceed “as if” this is what is going on (read below for the “rule out” diagnosis.)

As identified in this linked article: the name of what you are discussing is excoriation disorder (but has also been called chronic skin-picking or dermatillomania), which is a disorder where a person picks at their face, arms, and hands, etc, and from what you describe—most likely your collarbone qualifies.

The central feature is recurrent picking at one’s own skin. But it isn’t picking alone that makes it excoriation. As the article will explain, skin rubbing, squeezing, lancing, and biting are also common. Most individuals pick with their fingernails, although many use tweezers, pins, or other objects.

Technically, this condition (as this test will identify) is often classified as an obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is a lot of very good therapy for this, and I would highly recommend seeing a cognitive-behavioral counselor/psychologist for this. Therapists trained in CBT have a particular way of approaching these conditions that tend to work. Ask around to find someone trained — or use our Find Help button at the top of the page to find someone that may be near you in your country.

The “rule out” possibility may come from the medical condition of entomophobia, the fear of insects, and the scratching you are doing because of it. This is why a trip to the psychologist might be most important thing you can do as he or she can help with the treatment in either case.

While I understand going to your physician may be difficult, you may want to go just to make sure there are no infections.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Do I Have Skin Picking Disorder?

TALK TO A THERAPIST NOW:
Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). Do I Have Skin Picking Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/08/23/do-i-have-skin-picking-disorder/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 21 Aug 2020 (Originally: 23 Aug 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 21 Aug 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.