Anxiety Disorders: Lesser-Known Symptoms of Skin-Picking and Hair-Pulling

Anxiety Disorders: Lesser-Known Symptoms of Skin-Picking and Hair-Pulling

Anxiety disorders can manifest in many different ways, some of which are not as well known as others. These can include skin-picking and hair-pulling, which are sometimes called Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). These two disorders often go hand-in-hand with anxiety, therefore, in this post, I will be discussing skin-picking and hair-pulling in more detail.

The Link Between Anxiety and Hair-Pulling & Skin-Picking

Do you have a bad habit of picking at your skin or pulling out your hair (whether it be eyebrows, eyelashes, hair on head or body)? If so, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. That’s because these two behaviors are often linked to anxiety. In fact, they’re considered to be body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), which are a type of anxiety disorder. In this condition, people can’t resist the urge to pick at their skin or pull out their hair, even though they know it’s harmful.

There are a few theories about why anxiety and, hair-pulling & skin-picking are linked. One theory is that people with anxiety use these behaviors as a way to cope with stress. Another theory is that these behaviors are a way to relieve tension or boredom. Whatever the reason, these behaviors can cause serious harm to the sufferer, both physically and emotionally. Even though the definite link between anxiety and hair-pulling & skin-picking is unknown, these two disorders are linked together.

What are the Causes of Skin-Picking and Hair-Pulling?

There is not one specific cause of either skin-picking or hair-pulling. However, there are some risk factors that may make someone more likely to suffer from these disorders. These can include:

  • Having another anxiety disorder.
  • Having a family member who suffers from an anxiety disorder.
  • Having a history of abuse or trauma.
  • Having a history of mental illness.
  • Having low self-esteem or body image issues.

If you are suffering from skin-picking or hair-pulling, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. These disorders can be very difficult to overcome on your own, but with treatment, it is possible to gain control over your anxiety and reduce the harmful behaviors. Also, it is important that you look out for other anxiety symptoms so that you can get the help that you need.

For instance, if you are a parent to a teenager, be on the lookout for other anxiety symptoms such as a change in eating habits, not wanting to go to school, social withdrawal, etc. These can all be signs that your teenager is struggling with anxiety. Along with this, you must also look out for signs of teenage depression as sometimes both of these conditions can go hand-in-hand.

The Treatment for Skin-Picking and Hair-Pulling

There are a few different treatment options available for people suffering from skin-picking and hair-pulling. The most common is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a type of talk therapy that can help people to change their thinking and behavior. CBT can be very effective in treating anxiety disorders, including BFRBs. Ultimately, it is crucial that you seek treatment from a professional for anxiety disorder to help manage your symptoms and regain control of your life. Doing so may feel and seem difficult, but it is possible with the right support.

Other treatment options include medication, support groups, and self-care. Medication is not typically used as the sole treatment for BFRBs, but it can be helpful in reducing anxiety and thus the urge to pick or pull. Support groups can provide people with a community of others who understand what they’re going through and can offer support and advice. Finally, self-care is important for everyone, but it’s especially crucial for people with anxiety disorders. This can include things like exercise, relaxation techniques, and healthy eating.

The Bottom Line

If you are struggling with skin-picking or hair-pulling, know that you are not alone. These disorders are more common than you may think, and there is help available. Together we can help you overcome these challenges so that you can start living the life you want to live!

About me
Kirsten Book, PMHNP-BC

I support the patient to help them feel empowered in their own recovery.

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