How To Stop Skin Picking



If you’re wondering how to stop skin picking, known as dermatillomania in medical terms, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you about the most effective treatments available. For most people, the most effective way to stop picking skin is to use a combination of therapy and medication, according to the International OCD Foundation, an organization that seeks to educate both patients and health care professionals about obsessive-compulsive disorders, including dermatillomania.

Therapy to Help Stop Skin Picking

There are several types of therapy that can help people stop picking at their skin. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people change the way they think, which in turns helps change their behavior. Habit reversal training (HRT) helps people identify things that trigger skin picking and then helps them develop alternative ways of coping with those triggers. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) helps people learn to tolerate the things that trigger skin picking without giving in to the urge to pick at their skin. Stress management and relaxation techniques often help reduce skin picking, too, since it’s often triggered by anxiety.

There are other techniques that can help, as well. Some people find things like wearing long sleeves helps prevent picking at the skin on their arms. Others find covering or removing mirrors in their homes helps prevent picking at the skin on their faces. A therapist that has experience treating dermatillomania can explain more about the available treatment options and help you figure out what will work best for you, if you need help to stop picking at your skin.

Medication to Help Stop Skin Picking

There are some medications that help some people stop skin picking. Most of these medications are antidepressants and it’s thought that they work by increasing the amount of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. According to the International OCD Foundation, some antidepressants that have been found to be effective for obsessive-compulsive disorder include Anafranil, Celexa, Effexor, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. It can take a few weeks before these medications kick in and become fully effective, and unfortunately not every medication seems to work well for every person with dermatillomania, so you might need to try more than one medication before finding relief.

Of course, all medications can have side effects, though for most people the side effects are minimal and tolerable. Talk to your doctor about any side effects you experience. Sometimes adjusting the dose will help. Don’t stop taking any of these medications abruptly without talking to your doctor, though, because sometimes that causes serious withdrawal symptoms.

If You Need Help to Stop Picking Skin

If you think you might need some help to stop picking skin, talk to your doctor about it. Some people feel embarrassed to talk to their doctors about things like this, but your doctor has almost certainly seen it before. Let your doctor know if you have any wounds that aren’t healing well or that might be infected, too. It’s important not to delay medical treatment because of embarrassment about your dermatillomania.

If you want to give therapy a try, ask your doctor to refer you to a counselor or contact your health insurance company to find out which counselors are covered by your plan. Look for a counselor with experience treating obsessive-compulsive disorders like dermatillomania.

If you think you might want to give medication a try, your primary care physician can prescribe antidepressants but a psychiatrist might be more helpful. A psychiatrist would have a lot more experience prescribing medications for conditions like dermatillomania. The important thing, though, is that you reach out and ask for help.



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