Friday, May 16, 2014

Excoriation Disorder

This is long, and may be a little graphic. Please be warned.

From Trich:

Skin Picking Disorder (also known as Excoriation Disorder or SPD) is a serious and poorly understood problem. People who suffer from SPD repetitively touch, rub, scratch, pick at, or dig into their skin, often in an attempt to remove small irregularities or perceived imperfections. This behavior may result in skin discoloration or scarring. In more serious cases, severe tissue damage and visible disfigurement can result.

SPD is thought of as one of many Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) in which a person can cause harm or damage to themselves or their appearance. Other BFRBs include hair pulling disorder (trichotillomania), biting the insides of the cheeks, and severe nail biting.

Skin picking or other BFRBs can occur when a person experiences feelings such as anxiety, fear, excitement or boredom. Some people report that the act of repetitively picking at their skin is pleasurable. Many hours can be spent picking the skin, and this repetitive behavior can negatively impact a person's social, work, and family relationships.

Though skin picking often occurs on its own-unconnected to other physical or mental disorders-it is important to identify whether or not skin picking is a symptom of another problem that needs treatment. For example, skin picking could be a symptom of illnesses such as dermatological disorders, autoimmune problems, body dysmorphic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse disorders (such as opiate withdrawal), developmental disorders (like autism), and psychosis. Establishing whether skin picking is an independent problem or a symptom of another disorder is an important first step in creating an appropriate treatment plan.

I don't really talk about this much and for the eight or so years that I've had this, I've been pretty ashamed of my hands. For those who don't know me too well, my hands are very callousy and bruised/cut from having this problem. When people would ask about why my hands always looked so beat up, I would lie and say it was from playing too many video games and typing too often. I take frequent showers in order for my skin to loosen up and become peely in order to have this sense of release. It took me until I started peeling and picking to the center of my palms and a trail of blood to realize I have a serious problem.

Starting last year (May 2013, according to my prescription) I began to see a doctor about my problem, and he prescribed me two sets of medicine to counter this and see if it's a form of eczema. The medicine, though my hands started to look better, still remained hard, red, and borderline crusty. I assumed it wasn't working then I stopped using the medicine and resumed my habit.

When I peeled to the center of my palms, I had a realization that this needs to stop. Now. I got my old medicine and began using it again and I started wearing gloves to sleep and if I'm feeling stressed to immediately stop any sensation from damaging my hands even further.

That being said, I'm stopping my biting habit today. I am going to find a better way to release my stress, anger, and frustration in a way that's not self-destructive to my health, my well-being, and my self-esteem.

For starters, I'm semi-retiring myself from leading Viva Eorzea events every night. I'm going to use Friday nights to cool off a little bit and have me time. For game development, I'm going to be going to work on my own terms. I feel like I'm more productive if I had a full meal for breakfast and not worried about money and eating out at restaurants. Also, the additional sleep and lack of a rush will do me some good.

I hope this post helps someone that's reading and is in the same problem as I am.

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