What Are the Different Treatments for Compulsive Skin Picking?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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Compulsive skin picking is a form of self mutilation that can result in bleeding, open wounds, or infection. Treatments will vary according to the cause. If the cause stems from a psychological problem, psychiatric therapy may be recommended. Some individuals may be prone to compulsive skin picking due to physical disorders. In these cases, a physician may recommend medication. Treatment options may also include behavioral therapy for obsessive compulsive disorders.

Dermatillomania is the proper name for compulsive skin picking. To prevent serious complications from compulsive skin picking, a doctor may recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy. This treatment focuses on relaxation techniques. Other psychotherapy techniques may involve keeping a diary or record of times when compulsive skin picking has occurred. This may enable the individual to understand what events trigger this behavior, so he is better able to control his compulsion.

Medications, such as anti-depressants or mood stabilizers, may help some patients suffering from obsessive compulsive disorders, including skin picking. A doctor may adjust the dosage according to age and medical history. It's important to follow a physician's instructions when using any medication to treat skin picking.

A psychotherapist may recommend hypnosis for patients who with dermatillomania. The patient may be recommended to a specialist who can perform this procedure safely. If self hypnosis is to be successful, it should be done under the supervision of a psychotherapist or specialist.


Those who follow natural, alternative or holistic practices may find treatment options that are free of chemicals and drugs. Before trying holistic treatment options, it's best to consult with a physician for evaluation. The health care provider may recommend a physician who specializes in holistic treatment.

Other natural remedies and treatments for compulsive skin picking may include vitamin and herbals supplements. St. John's wort is one such herbal remedy that some physicians may recommend. Kava-kava has been used for treating compulsive disorders as well. Again, it is recommended to consult with a health care provider before using any of these supplements to treat the disorder.


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