Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania

Both trichotillomania and dermatillomania describe body-focused repetitive behaviors that harm the self. Trichotillomania is characterized by repeated pulling of one’s own hair for non-cosmetic reasons from any area of the body. Dermatillomania is repeated picking at one’s own skin for non-cosmetic reasons on any area of the body.

Symptoms, behaviors, and attitudes associated with trichotillomania may include the following:

  • Hair loss
  • Feelings of shame or distress
  • Avoidance of activities that may reveal hair loss

For dermatillomania, symptoms, behaviors, and attitudes may include any of the following:

  • Picking at the face
  • Cheek or nail biting
  • Bleeding, bruises, or infections
  • Avoidance or activities or situations that may reveal evidence of skin picking

At the OCD and Anxiety Center in Chicago, how do we treat these body-focused repetitive behaviors? We use cognitive behavioral therapy with a customized plan for each patient. Through our time-tested methods, we motivate the replacement of self-harming behavior with other actions. In this way, we seek to drastically decrease the amount of pulling and picking, if not eliminate these behaviors altogether.

Whether you or your child are struggling with pulling or picking behaviors, know that our experienced staff will be able to help in ways you never thought possible. Contact us today to learn more about our treatments or to get started.

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