What are Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)?
BFRBs are a group of related impulse control disorders which cause someone to repeatedly touch their hair or skin in a way that causes physical damage.
What causes a BFRB?
The exact cause is currently unknown, but research suggests that a predisposition toward a BFRB can be inherited. Other factors can include temperament and level of stress. To learn more about the current research on this, click here.
Are BFRBs the same as self-harm?
Though some people may engage in similar behaviors as a form of self-harm, current research suggests that BFRBs are a distinct disorder and are not a form of self-harm. To find out more, click here.
Are BFRBs the same as OCD?
Currently, trichotillomania and dermatillomania (excoriation disorder) are listed as Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association. However, this classification remains somewhat controversial, as there is research to suggest that BFRBs are a distinct disorder from OCD. To find out more, click here.
Also known as hair pulling disorder, trichotillomania is a BFRB that causes a person to pull out their hair. This can include head or body hair, such as eyebrows or eyelashes. This can result in baldness and/or scarring.
In 15% of people with trichotillomania, trichophagia (hair eating) also occurs. This can result in serious medical complications.
Also known as skin picking disorder, dermatillomania is a BFRB that causes a person to pick at their skin to the point of causing physical damage and impairment in daily functioning. This can result in permanent scarring and tissue damage.
Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania are the only BFRBs currently listed by the American Psychiatric Association. However, research into other types of BFRBs is ongoing and more may be included in the future. For more information, click here.
A type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called Habit Reversal Therapy (HRT) has been shown to successfully treat symptoms of a BFRB. Additionally, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has also shown to indicate progress.
Some people with BFRBs have co-occurring disorders, such as depression. When this is the case, both disorders must be treated.
Living with such a little-known disorder can feel isolating. To find a support group, click here.
Though medication is not the primary treatment for BFRBs, medication has shown to help some individuals. For more information, click here.
Trichster is a documentary film that follows people living with trichotillomania (or, trichsters). Click below to watch the trailer.
The TLC Foundation provides information, support, and resources for people experiecing a Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior.
TrichJournal is a YouTube channel by Rebecca Jane Brown in which she chronicles her journey with trichotillomania (or, trich).