Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP)
Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP) – or dermatillomania – is the continuous and repetitive picking of you skin. It varies in severity, from just a bad habit, to a problem which shares many characteristics with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In the worst cases it can cause pain, injury and permanent scarring.Hypnotherapy helps both the bad habit of skin picking and the more severe OCD form. Skin picking is more common in women than in men, and it is thought to affect about 2% of patients who see a dermatologist, and between 2 and 4% of students.
Skin picking, and OCD
If you pick your skin, you might do this because it provides a relief from anxiety, stress or boredom, or provides a distraction from your everyday problems. Or you may be trying to make your skin as perfect as possible, picking your skin to remove (real or imaginary) spots, scabs, blemishes, dry skin, lumps and bumps. Of course, the more you pick, the worse your skin becomes, leading to a vicious circle of further skin picking. More severe cases of Compulsive Skin Picking have obsessive compulsive aspects that are similar to OCD. It is ritualistic, compulsive, repetitive and it might temporarily relieve stress and anxiety, it is self destructive. Around a quarter of people diagnosed with OCD or BDD also have CSP.
What are the symptoms of Compulsive Skin Picking?
The most commonly affected areas are the face, gums, lips, back, shoulders, arms, scalp, stomach, chest, and the nails and cuticles (on both the fingers and toes).
This causes pain, scarring, swelling, bleeding, and callusing. Some damage unfortunately is irreversible. Most sufferers of skin picking disorder experience stress or tension before picking, which is decreased by skin picking. If your skin picking is merely a habit you may not even be aware that you are doing it; it goes on in your subconscious. When skin picking is more severe you may use your fingers or nails for skin picking, or perhaps tweezers, needles, pins or toothpicks. There are many problems which can come about because of your skin picking, including not like being looked at, self consciousness, perhaps your relationship is deteriorating badly because of it, hating the way you look, and not going out because it takes you so long to get ready. If you pick your skin, you may feel the need to hide your scars with make-up, or to cover up affected areas with clothing, even in the height of summer. Compulsive skin picking can cause or worsen social anxiety, making you feel self conscious, perhaps leading you to stay at home, avoid your friends, and to be constantly late as your skin picking and subsequent camouflaging routines takes up so much time. Skin picking interferes with daily life.
Hypnotherapy to treat skin picking
Hypnotherapy is very well regarded for the treatment of compulsive skin picking. Hypnotherapy can be used alone or in conjunction with medication. Medications used for OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and depression have proved very effective for some sufferers. Medication should not be seen as a stand alone treatment but as a tool which makes it easier for you to do the therapeutic work you need to do to overcome this problem.
How does hypnotherapy break bad habits?
Using Hypnotherapy I speak directly to your subconcious to make you more aware of what you are doing when you pick your skin. So rather than subconciously indulging your bad habit, hypnotherapy makes you become very conscious of what you are doing. This means you notice your hand reaching towards your mouth, rather than just automatically doing it. Because your bad habit is subconscious you don’t even think about it or make a choice when you do it so no wonder it is hard to control it! With Hypnotherapy I make you aware of what you are doing. It is much easier to stop something when you are aware that you are doing it. And hypnosis enables you to override this thought with thoughts which are more accurate, appropriate and useful.
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