'I can't stop scratching my face': Student has compulsive disorder which means she spends SIX hours a day picking her skin until it bleeds
Samantha Wake, 20, has dermatillomania - and dozens of scars across her face as a result.
‘People ask me what on earth has happened to my face. The truth is I've done this to myself and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop doing it.
Samantha has permanent scarring on her face as a result of a rare condition which means she compulsively picks at her skin until it is raw and bleeding
‘It’s a very real condition with very real consequences.’
Now, Samantha is revealing the full extent of her scarring for the first time to encourage doctors to learn more about the condition - and help sufferers know they aren't alone.
Comments Irena-Marie "I have worked with a number of clients who suffer from compulsive skin picking and I think Samantha is incredibly brave to speak out publicly about her issue".
"Sufferers from dermatillomania can comes to terms with why they pick their skin which often results in them reducing or stopping altogether. Using hypnosis to access the subconscious mind its vital to find out the underlying core issue that triggered a particular problem in the first place. So many difficulties we have come from low self esteem, anxiety or an incident in childhood."
When she first developed symptoms, Samantha felt she wasn't taken seriously by doctors.
However, dermatillomania is thought to affect as many as one in 500 people in the UK and the vast majority are women.
It can affect all ages but most people with dermatillomania are between 15 and 30 years old.
WHAT IS DERMATILLOMANIA?
Dermatillomania - or compulsive skin picking - is an impulse control disorder characterised by the uncontrollable desire to pick at one's skin.
Some sufferers have the condition so severely they pick at their skin until it is damaged.
Sufferers usually start by picking at their face before moving on to other parts of the body.
The condition is often categorised as an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
It can lead to bleeding, bruising and infections.
CSP will often be carried out after the individual has experienced a high level of tension which has caused an urge to carry out the behaviour.
The skin picking is often accompanied by a feeling of relief or even pleasure due to the reduction in anxiety levels.
However, once the damage has been done, those affected will often be left with a feeling of depression or hopelessness.
Although the damage that is caused can be very severe, the gratification experienced can lead the individual to carry out CSP again and again.
Treatment usually involves counselling, hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Source: Anxiety UK
The ritual is having a damaging impact on Samantha's emotional health too, as afterwards she can be left feeling guilty and depressed.
And that in turn means she is ashamed to be seen in public and often shies away from going out.
She said: ‘I usually wear a thick layer of make-up when I leave the house but it doesn't cover everything. When I talk to people I can see them looking at the marks instead of my eyes.
‘It’s made worse by anxiety and stress. If I’ve got a big event coming up like a holiday or a night out with friends I will desperately want my skin to be clear - but the pressure of that will make me pick more. So now I just don’t go out as much.’
‘I want people to realise this condition is real and I’m not just some person with horrible spots or some skin disease.
‘But I’ve decided I won’t let it beat me. I have a really supportive family and a lovely boyfriend. I will keep a smile on my face and try harder every day to pick a bit less.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2636089/I-stop-scratching-face-Student-compulsive-disorder-means-spends-SIX-hours-day-picking-skin-bleeds.html#ixzz32dIjl1cW
Irena-Marie Makowska is a Mind Coach, specialised in BrainWorking Recursive Therapy (BWRT®), Psychology of Identity and Behaviour; Clinical Hypnotherapy; Transformational Coaching and Mindfulness.