Also known as chronic skin-picking or dermatillomania, excoriation disorder is a mental illness characterized by obsessive picking of one’s skin, resulting in skin lesions and a serious disruption in one’s quality of life. A person may pick at healthy skin, a pimple, scab, or a lesion. This is a chronic disorder with periods of remission alternating with periods of intense symptoms. People struggling with this disorder might spend several hours a day picking their skin. This behavior might manifest during adolescence and might coincide with the onset of one’s puberty. It is experienced more by females compared to males.
Some of the characteristic symptoms and causes of this disorder are:
Repeated skin picking leading to the development of skin lesions.
Repeated attempts to resist the behavior.
Significant distress caused by the symptoms
It is believed that a genetic predisposition is associated with the disorder and it is more common in individuals struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Evidence suggests that treatment with medications like antidepressants and therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective in alleviating the symptoms of excoriation disorder. Oftentimes, the disorder co-occurs with OCD, major depressive disorder (MDD), and trichotillomania. Excessive and uncontrolled nail-biting may also be another characteristic of the disorder.
Therapies like habit reversal training and stimulus control are routinely used for the management of excoriation disorder. In habit reversal training, a person, habitual of picking at their skin is trained in such a way that the next time they have an urge to pick their skin, they get engaged in a constructive habit like knitting, playing with finger toys, etc. In stimulus control, a patient is trained to control their physical environment. For example, if someone is habitual of picking at their facial blemishes, they would have a piece of tape on the bathroom floor near the mirror as a reminder to stay away from seeing the blemishes.
Treatment of Excoriation Disorder at Medical Concierge
Excoriation disorder is a serious mental illness which if left untreated can lead to debilitating consequences. The mental health professionals associated with Medical Concierge understand that the patients grappling with this disorder are vulnerable and need compassionate care in dealing with the illness. Our experts use a combination of medication and therapies to ensure that the patient recovers holistically.
To learn more about the mental health services and treatment intervention programs offered for excoriation disorder and other mental illnesses, call our 24/7 available helpline (877) 636-0042 and speak with a member from the admissions team. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.
Medical Concierge offers quality, innovative and compassionate care for mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders. We also offer alumni services and continuing care to ensure sustained recovery.