Is Skin Picking Self Harm

Is Skin Picking Self Harm?

Get an Understanding of Skin Picking and Support to Quit at Icarus

Is skin-picking self-harm? This question is often presented by family members and loved ones of those who suffer from a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, often accompanied by substance abuse. Skin-picking disorder is a complex, deep-rooted psychological behavior that’s defined by compulsive skin picking, leaving unsightly sores and abscesses throughout the impacted area.

But is skin picking self harm?

Obviously, there are a number of potential medical complications that accompany mental disorders such as this. But the questions remain – is skin-picking self-harm, or does skin-picking fall under the label of self-harming behaviors? It’s not simple to answer these questions. But the answer depends a lot on the diagnosis and the actions and symptoms that go with it.

In this article, we dive into the world of skin self-harm and other mental disorders, with the goal of shedding light on whether this is a classic case of psychosis with hallucinations or a tragic form of self-injury due to conditions like body dysmorphic disorder. We also touch on the programs offered at Icarus Behavioral Health, for

Skin-Picking: Self-Harm or Intense Delusion?

Self-Harming Behavior

This mental disease resembles OCD and other associated diseases as a form of excoriation disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

But does it fall under the category of self-harm? First, let’s define self-harming behavior.

What Is Self-Harming Behavior?

Historically, self-harm has been defined as the deliberate harming of the body in a number of different ways. This might include digging, picking, burning, or even cutting. The fact that persistent picking and digging of the skin causes harm is undeniable, but most of the time it is not a conscious effort to ease psychological suffering.

To paint a clear picture as to why that isn’t a traditional form of self-harming, we must dive deep into the mind of an individual with this form of OCD.

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Understanding the Mindset of a Picker

There are several reasons why one resorts to the actions associated with skin-picking. In some cases, there’s a genuine belief that some form of bugs or parasites reside under the skin – to the point that these individuals not only feel the effects but witness a full visual manifestation of them underneath chunks of removed skin and blood.

This form of the disorder is often accompanied by substance abuse – illicit or otherwise – with the potential DOC (drug of choice) being cocaine, methamphetamine, and even opioids. In some cases, these hallucinations exist without any drug abuse at all and can be a symptom of borderline personality disorder.

Nervous Picking, Not Self Harm

Nervous picking is a way for those with OCD to temporarily relieve stress or anxiety. However, once it becomes a routine, the act can serve as a temporary coping mechanism for chronic emotional distress, turning into a crippling condition in and of itself.

That said, this form of picking typically isn’t associated with a situation where people self-harm, and isn’t clinically defined as a nonsuicidal self-injury. During the infliction of nonsuicidal self-injury, the subject is consciously aware of the action they’re taking.

Interestingly enough, many of those who suffer from this disorder engage in this action involuntarily. In the heat of the moment, they don’t even realize they’re aggressively digging into their own skin. For many – it presents much-needed relief from intense anxiety or nervousness.

Is Skin-Picking Psychosis or Self Harm, or Neither?

Skin-Picking Psychosis

In rare cases, as pointed out in the initial passage regarding picking with the belief one is infested with bugs, this could easily fall under the category of psychosis. Because this isn’t as common as OCD-related picking, generally this disorder isn’t considered psychosis-related.

Instead, it falls under the anxiety and OCD spectrum, as mentioned earlier. Normally, cases of psychosis take place when the individual loses contact with reality because of a traumatic or psychological tension.

What are the Clinical Definitions for Various Forms of Picking?

Picking varies widely in its severity, triggers, and manifestations. For some, it’s a mild occasional habit, while for others it can be severe and constant, possibly qualifying as a clinical disorder when it disrupts daily functioning or leads to severe damage.

Triggers for picking include emotional factors like stress or boredom, physical sensations such as itchy or irregular skin, and psychological issues such as attempts to relieve anxiety or other intense feelings.

Are Bugs (or Meth Mites) Involved?

Delusional Parasitosis is the clinical condition where individuals believe they’ve been infested by bugs or parasites. This is far less common, and often more severe – but still doesn’t fall under the category of self-harming behaviors or self-injury.

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Is Skin Picking Self Harm? The Additional Complications from a Skin Picking Disorder

For young adults who suffer from this disorder, there may not be a self-harm or suicide attempt element involved, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. Chronic picking can lead to a range of complications, including:

  • Infections
  • Long-term scars
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Withdrawing from society

Evidence Based Treatment Approaches for Self Harming Behaviors

Evidence Based Treatment

Understanding that this condition is a serious mental health disorder opens up several pathways for treatment. Despite the fact that it doesn’t fall under the designation of self-harm, there’s still reason for alarm. There are multiple effective options for treatment we offer at Icarus:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT is one of the recommended forms of treatment for this disorder. It educates clients about the damaging behaviors they engage in as a response to internal elements. These behaviors are replaced with healthier, more productive actions.

Pharmaceutical Therapy: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage underlying issues like anxiety or OCD.

Group Therapy: Support groups and therapy can also provide the essential emotional support needed to address the root causes of skin picking. loped serious injuries as a result of picking, it’s important to approach them with compassion and understanding.

Avoid shaming them, as this usually further escalates the situation. Whether it’s a form of self-harm or otherwise, it’s still a situation that usually requires discretion.

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Icarus Offers Treatment Options for Skin Picking and Self-Harm

Positive encouragement and offering to lead them toward professional help and support is the most beneficial course of action for those suffering from skin picking or any form of self-harm.

At Icarus Behavioral Health in New Mexico, we have a multi-faceted approach for OCD and anxiety disorders, as well as a dedicated self-harm rehab track, and can help clients reclaim their confidence and return to a normal, healthy way of living.

Reach out to a member of our admissions team today. We can help get you or your loved ones on the fast track to recovery thanks to our compassionate staff and top-tier therapeutic options. Please make the confidential call today, and get proven support for healing and recovery at Icarus now!

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