Dermatillomania and BFRDs- Wha????????

Edible Nail Polish

Have you ever sat there and twiddled your hair while you were thinking? Do you bite your nails (they do have calories, you know)? Have you ever picked at that cuticle, scab, bump on your skin, pimple…

You may have BFRD (Body-focused Repetitive Disorder.

“These are a group of behaviors in which an individual damages his or her appearance or causes physical injury through:

  • Hair pulling to the point of having seriously thinned hair or bald spots, missing eyebrows, or eyelashes
  • Nail and/or cuticle biting, causing bleeding or infected fingertips
  • Skin picking, resulting in scabs, sores that never heal, holes in the skin, and scarring
  • Blemish picking or squeezing, causing scarring and infections
  • Biting the inside of the cheek”

The last three are examples of dermatillomania, a BFRB (body-focused repetitive behaviour). Cool, eh? Once again the medical and scientific community are putting wonderful names on things that we do everyday.

I used to bite my nails. I don’t even remember why or when I stopped. I used to bite them down to the quick and past. I still pull cuticles and the little skin at the side. These are signs of a BFRB. And all these repetitive things are related to OCD (obsessive compulsive disorders). Wow, the things we do to our selves because we are…upset, thoughtful, distressed, nervous, worried, scared, sad, angry, etc. They are behaviours connected to our emotional state of being.

Sigh! Emotions. We have them and we do different things because of them. Some we do consciously; some subconciously; and some unconciously (what do you remember you did after the 5th tequila shot?). I find myself scratching. I haven’t gotten to the point of making marks or drawing blood but I scratch my head or arm and I’m not even itchy – or I think I’m not. Hmmmm. It does feel good so maybe that’s what we are craving when we do these things. FEELING! It is body contact with physical and emotional feeling. (Insert song here)

Our family (both sides) has members who twirl their hair. Male and female members will twirl their hair. It doesn’t hurt anyone except it does drive others crazy. One husband and wife, both do it. Is is contagious? Maybe it is hereditary. My brother and I both bit our nails. Hmmm maybe…

Well, there are all kinds of “treatments” for these behaviours. You can put icky stuff on nails. You can get psychiatric analysis or hypnosis. You can join support groups or chat rooms. Use the elastic band method of alternative behaviour training. Seriously, this is a real treatment method for a number of behaviours. You put a snug elastic band on your non-dominant wrist and every time you feel the impulse to do your bad behaviour, you snap the elastic with your dominant hand. This makes you conscious of your impulses and then you can choose to change the behaviour. it works and there are even special elastics you can buy (always opportunists aren’t there).

I didn’t set out to find out all this stuff but I love learning and I did want to know why I keep scratching and maybe i should have a pretty elastic, too.  I put in a couple of links and the song was our wedding waltz, way back in 1977. Sigh.

Thanks for listening. ;D Diane“>

~ by 1fatgirlshrinking - Diane Kirby on May 26, 2012.

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