Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) are self-grooming behaviors where an individual may pluck, pull, scrape, or bite their own hair, nails, skin, etc.

Trichotillomania (“Hair Pulling”)

Trichotillomania (trick-o-till-o-may-nee-uh) refers to the repetitive pulling out of one’s own hair. Affecting approximately one to two in 50 people in their lifetime, trichotillomania generally begins during late childhood or early adolescence (around age 11 or 12). In adulthood, trichotillomania affects significantly more women than men. Hair is pulled from eyelashes, eyebrows, beard, arm hair, hair on the scalp, etc). Without proper treatment, trichotillomania generally becomes a chronic condition.

Recognizing Trichotillomania

  • Pulling of the hair
  • Thinning or bald areas
  • Attempts to hide hair loss with hairstyles, scarves, hats, makeup, etc.
  • Avoidance of situations or activities that may draw attention to hair loss (e.g., swimming, windy weather, salon appointments, intimacy, etc.)

Excoriation Disorder (“Skin Picking”)

Affecting approximately 2-5% of people in the United States, excoriation disorder refers to the excessive picking of one’s own skin (e.g., cuticles, acne, moles, scabs, etc.). Skin picking usually occurs in an effort to improve perceived imperfections; however, it often leads to scarring, discoloration and/or damage to the tissue. Onset of symptoms generally begins during adolescence (around age 14 or 15); however, it can begin much earlier. Skin picking tends to affect more women than men. Without proper treatment, excoriation disorder tends to develop into a chronic condition.

Recognizing Excoriation

  • Picking of the skin
  • Red, irritated skin or scarring
  • Attempts to camouflage damaged areas of skin with clothing or makeup
  • Avoidance of situations or activities that may draw attention irritated skin (e.g., swimming, medical appointments, intimacy, etc.)
  • Isolation

Recommended Treatment For Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Response to treatment varies; however, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been identified as the treatment of choice for BFRBs. Habit reversal training (HRT) and comprehensive behavioral treatment (ComB) are two specific types of CBT, which can be helpful.

For more information about Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors or to schedule an appointment with a BFRB treatment specialist at Austin Anxiety and Behavioral Health Services please call (512) 246-7225 or email us at [email protected]. We are currently accepting new patients at our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices.

If you have any additional questions please contact us at 512-246-7225. If you are ready to get started, please visit our client portal.