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  • BFRBs | Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours

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    Body-focused repetitive behaviours (BFRBs) are characterized by highly repetitive self-grooming behaviours which can include biting, pulling, picking, or scraping. The focus, or target areas of BFRBs can include hair, skin, lips, cheeks, or nails.

    BFRBs can result in significant physical damage to the body (hair loss, baldness, sore and bleeding skin, infection, and scaring) and emotional distress. BFRBs can impact relationships, social functioning, work, school, confidence, self-esteem, and quality of life – to name a few.

    To avoid damage, a person with a BFRB will try again and again to stop or decrease the behaviour. Often, their attempts to do so are only short-lived (even momentary). They can feel a great sense of shame and guilt that they engage in these behaviours and that they “can’t stop.”

    BFRBs are very confusing. On the one hand, people hate that that they do this to themselves, on the other, they love these behaviours too. They hate the social stigma, the loss of time, the impact on relationships, and the shame. But they love how it makes them feel (it is self-soothing) and how the BFRB is great at regulating emotions and getting rid of unpleasant internal experiences.

    Common BFRBs include hair pulling, skin picking, nail biting, and cheek biting. Other body-focused repetitive behaviours include hair eating, nail picking, skin biting, lip biting, tongue chewing, and hair cutting.

    Hair Pulling Disorder (HPD) is also known as Trichotillomania, TTM, or Trich. Skin Picking Disorder (SPD) is also known as Excoriation Disorder. Chronic nail biting is also known as Onychophagia.

    BFRB behaviours are highly complex. Imagine a tangled ball of wool, with multiple strands. Each strand represents a different aspect of the BFRB and a different maintaining factor. We often categorize these strands as Sensory (all five senses), Cognitive (thoughts), Affective (feelings), Motoric (body movements and the subconscious), and Place (environment, location on the body) – represented by the acronym SCAMP.

    Every individual with a BFRB is unique and has a unique combination of strands which maintain their behaviour. Simple interventions that target one of these strands do not work. Think of how many times you’ve heard “just stop.”

    At Now in Colour we can help you to explore and understand your BFRB. We will gently untangle that ball of wool and help you towards the management of these behaviours.

    Dr. Corrick Woodfin specializes in treating BFRBs. He is a graduate of the TLC Foundation’s Virtual Professional Training Institute. Dr. Corrick can help you to effectively manage your body-focused repetitive behaviour.

    Contact Dr. Corrick today to find out how he can help you.