Working with a therapist that is capable of making a correct diagnosis is fundamental, particularly with respect to Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders or OCSD, which are a group of several disorders that present with similar characteristics of obsessive thinking &/or compulsive checking as OCD, but operate in different ways.
Body Focused Repetitive Disorders BFRDs:
Trichotillomania or TRCH (often referred to as “trick” in pronunciation) – is a disorder in which an individual compulsively pulls out hairs on his/her body. This can include the head, eyebrows, lashes, arms or anywhere in which hair grows, using the fingers, tweezers, pins or any device that will satisfy the compulsion to “pick” out the hair. People with TRCH often feel extreme shame & embarrassment regarding their hair picking. When focused on the head or face, the individual has difficulty hiding the results of the behavior & may feel forced to wear a wig to hide bald spots or use makeup to camouflage hair loss on brows or lashes.
Excoriation Disorder/Dermatillomania (referred to as “skin picking disorder”)
Similar to TRCH, Skin Picking Disorder resonates from a driven urge to pick at the skin; this could be a mole, freckle, pimple, scabs or quite often, an irrationally perceived defect or area that the individual feels is not attractive. Using the hands, or some other method, the individual typically picks until a sense of relief or satisfaction is attained, although afterward, the individual is embarrassed, & lives in fear of being caught & humiliated. This results in trying to cover up the picking or avoidance of social situations that would reveal the damage.
Unlike traditional OCD that is influenced by a desire to reduce anxiety & discomfort, BFRDs stem more from a drive to gain satisfaction, & reward the individual with a temporary sense of pleasure, albeit short, & as previously noted, produces many negative emotional & physical consequences.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD):
Is another OCSD that comprises of obsessive thoughts & compulsive behaviors. Individuals with BDD, have irrational beliefs that some aspect of their body is deformed, ugly or defective. This obsessive concern about even the smallest perceived flaw leads to repetitive thoughts that trigger intense preoccupation & circular anxiety that results in even more obsessing. Quite often, he/she will also engage in compulsive or compensatory behaviors, such as repeatedly checking themselves in a mirror, spending time to minimize the “imperfection” or avoid situations that may, in their mind, reveal their flaw to others. BDD is frequently diagnosed along with another OCSDs, such as Skin Picking or Trichotillomania, or is present with concurrent OCD.
Treatment for OCSD
Like other Anxiety Disorders & OCD, different forms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, along with Exposure-Based Therapy methods are the treatment of choice for OCSD. Depending on your specific needs & issues, I utilize strategies such as Cognitive Distortion Awareness, Habit Reversal, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Exposure & Response Prevention & Mindfulness Practices, to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that will provide you with the most effective & evidence-based results. This includes offering therapy in office, online or in-vivo, or within the environment in which the behavior occurs, if necessary, along with individual, couples & family therapy, to help educate family members. I am committed to helping those suffering with the crippling effects of OCSDs break free & start to live the life that they deserve & desire!
If you, or someone you care about, is struggling with any of the issues listed above, please feel free to call, email, or use the convenient “Contact Me” link located on every page to reach out to me. I speak with all potential clients on the telephone before the initial appointment, to ensure we are the right fit for one another. I look forward to the opportunity to help you begin to Live Your Life Fearlessly!