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
- 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.
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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