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How do we treat SISP?

  • The primary treatment approach for self-injurious skin picking is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy called Habit Reversal Training (HRT). Over the years HRT has been expanded to become a comprehensive approach to understanding the physical and emotional triggers, situational factors and associated behaviors that correspond with a given behavior like skin picking. Once these factors are understood, alternate coping strategies are taught. HRT involves helping a person become aware of their skin picking behaviors and the triggers for it, as well as learning alternative ways to cope with it.
  • Another approach to treatment is called Stimulus Control (SC). SC involves modifying physical aspects of one's environment to reduce sensory input that leads to picking. For example, gloves, BandAids and rubber fingertips are frequently used to help the person resist urges to pick, or they may be asked to avoid or alter situations that are high risk to them..
  • Although few studies have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of these treatments, several case studies and small investigations support the use of HRT and SC for this problem. In addition, several studies also support the use of some medications, generally known as selective serotonergic reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), for reducing the symptoms of self-injurious skin picking.

Learn more about...

What is self-injurious skin picking or "SISP"?
How many people have SISP?
What causes SISP?
Who picks their skin?
When is SISP a problem?
How do we treat SISP?
A Dermatologist's Perspective
Readiness for Change

About Skin Picking...  

Severe skin picking appears to be a way for some people to increase their activity levels when they are bored, or to control their emotions when they are anxious, tense, or upset.


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