ATTN: BFRB researchers, treatment providers, and TLC community members,
You are invited to share your knowledge and expertise at the Trichotillomania Learning Center’s
22nd Annual National Conference in Arlington, VA — April 10-12, 2015.
The TLC Conference is the only multidisciplinary conference in the world that focuses specifically on hair pulling disorder, skin picking disorder and related body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). Nearly 500 clinicians, researchers, patients and their loved ones come together for a weekend of hope, inspiration, and education.
Clinicians, researchers and BFRB community leaders are all encouraged to submit proposals. TLC specifically seeks workshops that address:
- Current research outcomes and effects
- Common co-morbid issues such as stress, anxiety, and self-esteem
- Recovery maintenance and relapse prevention
- Specific sessions for skin picking
- Sessions on any of these topics for kids, teens, adults, and parents
- Research poster presentations – – Two poster presenter travel grants are available!
Deadline for proposal submissions is October 30, 2014.
Share your experience and knowledge – inspire others: Join us in Virginia!
PS: Please contact Leslie at TLC with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 831-457-1004.
Conference attendee registration info will be available soon!
I want to take just a moment out of your busy day to talk to you about TLC Membership.
We’ve always believed that TLC Membership is a special thing. Becoming a full-fledged Member sends a powerful message: that you are a person who has hope, and passion, and persistence in your journey of recovery–and that you care deeply about the recovery of others.
When you become a Member, we’re able to provide you with access to webinars for free, and reduced rates for other things — like products in the store, workshops, the conference and other events: because your Membership donations helps us develop and maintain these great resources.
We want to make being a Member as easy and low-impact as possible — so we’ve added a new monthly donation plan for those who’ve had to hesitate at the annual cost.
Now, for just $4 a month, you will not only receive all the benefits of Membership, you get to give. Your recovery will benefit from what we’ve accomplished so far-and you’ll know you are helping TLC continue to make progress for all of us.
Please, take advantage of this new option, or regular Membership, today. As special thank you, we’ll send you a BFRB Awareness Bracelet — you’ll be ready for Awareness Week October 1-7!
“Most children with (BFRBs) experience some resumption of the behavior during the first quarter of the school year,” says TLC Scientific Advisory Board members Suzanne Mouton-Odum, PhD, and Ruth Goldfinger Golomb, MEd, LCPC. Teens, college students and adults with BFRBs may also experience an increase in these behaviors as schedules fill up and pressures mount.
How to cope? Planning and preparation can significantly ease the transition from long summer days to busy fall schedules. TLC has helpful tools and resources for coping with BFRBs, plus books, fiddles and educational materials to smooth the transition to a more hectic time of year. Keep reading for links to these resources, plus a coupon for back-to-school supplies and more from the TLC Store!
Get professional advice and downloadable handouts for teachers, guidance counselors and other school personnel at www.trich.org/toolsforschools.html.
Professional Advice and Information
- Help! My Student is Pulling / Picking: Resource article for educational professionals
- Straight from the Heart: An inspiring 8-minute video of school-age children talking about trichotillomania. A great resource for staff meetings or classroom presentations
More Articles & Videos
- Help Yourself: A Self-Help Program for BFRBsHere are a few more favorites:
- Surviving BFRBs in College
- Skin Picking Strategies
- Treating the Whole Person: A Personal User’s Guide
TLC Members: don’t forget there is an extensive archive of webinars available! Email us if you need access link.
Not a member yet? Join here and get instant access to our ever-growing archive of video presentations from top BFRB experts!
With love, TLC
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Skin Picking Disorder Advocate and Activist, Angela Hartlin, analyzes the results of TLC’s 2014 Skin Picking Community Needs Survey
From the little province of Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada, it is with great honor to announce that I was chosen to be a part of the Trichotillomania Learning Center’s newly formed “Skin Picking Task Force”.
Some of you may know me from my advocacy work that accelerated with the publishing of my memoir FOREVER MARKED: A Dermatillomania Diary in 2009 while others are more familiar with my online work through skinpickingsupport.com and with Canada’s 1st non-profit organization for BFRBs, the Canadian BFRB Support Network (CBSN).
The first task that I was put to, along with this small group of strong voices in the community, was spreading the word of a survey back in June of 2014. With over 1200 respondents, I can say with confidence that this skin picking survey has to have had the greatest number of participants ever recorded, thus, creating more accurate results for us to move forward with!
Statistics create visibility and recognition to know where the community is at and it’s important to not only collect that data, but do something about the results. This is where the Skin Picking Task Force takes over in figuring out what to do with the information we’re given. Here’s some of what I’ve learned from all of your contributions to this survey and without you, we on the Task Force wouldn’t have known just how startling some of these results would be!
1. It was my belief, from the beginning of my anonymous advocacy in 2006, that Dermatillomania affects 1 male for every 8 females. This survey’s respondents with dermatillomania were approximately 3.5% male, 1.5% other identifying genders, and 95% female. These statistics are based on a lack of awareness for males and the struggle with males seeking support for mental health concerns, which is important to keep in mind. Perhaps we’ll find that the 1 in 8 figure is more accurate once awareness really takes off.
2. It confirms my suspicions that the median age of people who started skin picking did so at the age of 12. It was also my belief at the beginning of my advocacy that skin picking became a problem in menopausal women, not younger women, but I learned by speaking to people in forums that they started at the cusp of puberty as well. Some people reported picking as early as the age 9 or “as long as I can remember” to as late as 72 years old; the onset in the latter age could be caused by a number of geriatric concerns. Previous statistics saying menopausal women were the majority also tells us that despite puberty contributing to the onset of the disorder for most people, there are many factors beside age and hormones to consider when treating a sufferer of Dermatillomania.
3. 465 people knew what the acronym BFRB stood for (48%) while 489 (51%) did not. To answer this question, BFRB is the acronym for the umbrella term “Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior” which is defined by any chronic behavior that causes a person to consistently cause physical damage to oneself unintentionally through a compulsive act in order to relieve anxiety. This includes Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania along with other similar behaviours that are not as recognized.
4. 52% of respondents knew that Skin Picking Disorder was in the DSM. For the 48% who didn’t know, the previous version of the Diagnostic Statistic Manual (a book for mental health professionals), the DSM-IV, only mentioned skin picking in passing. In May of 2013 when the DSM 5 was released it was added under a new category called “Obsessive- Compulsive and Related Behaviors”. The medical term that was agreed upon by the DSM 5 committee was “Excoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder”, not simply “Skin Picking Disorder” as TLC had proposed, or the more commonly known name in the community, “Dermatillomania”.
5. A positive result is that 60% of you are willing to share information about skin picking on your social media pages! Statistically, this is the most preferred method of spreading awareness that people would partake in. Due to this information, let me share important Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr sites to keep in touch with us:
To begin, will you share this article on your social media to begin letting the world know that at least 1200 of us exist and are actively seeking help? Tell the world that attached to these statistics are individuals who are hoping to remove our transparent position in society in order to bring about less confusion, stigma, judgment, fear, and more acceptance, treatment options, with the ability to recover.
6. When asked what 3 services you would like to see TLC offer the skin picking community, I was surprised to see that nearly 60% of respondents skipped this question. Could this be because we don’t know what is out there to help us? For those who provided your thoughts, it appears that the most desired wants is access to trusted and trained professionals, support groups, and more information output.
7. An alarming statistic about skin picking is that 48% of sufferers have not sought out treatment of any kind (through a dermatologist, mental health professional, GP, etc). Assuming that those who filled out the survey are those who struggle with it versus doing it as a normal grooming behavior, this is disheartening that we are too afraid of rejection, dismissal, mockery, or loss of hope for recovery and acknowledgement in speaking to any professional.
8. Only 244 out of 1200+ respondents chose to give us additional feedback on the survey. The top priority, which I’ll disclose that I contributed to, was changing TLC’s name to something to include skin picking. Although my book had been published in 2009, I wasn’t aware of TLC’s focus on skin picking until I attended the 2011 conference in San Francisco while filming for the now nearly- completed documentary “Scars of Shame”. I had come across it in my searches but thought that skin picking was an afterthought, much like in OCD communities.
Fortunately, TLC has expanded its skin picking network substantially in the last 3 years and with Excoriation Disorder (I hate the name!) being listed in the DSM, more research opportunities and awareness will occur. Still, TLC has heard the skin picking community loud and clear that despite being more pro-active in awareness of skin picking, having that recognition in a name is vital to bringing in sufferers looking for help.
What is going to be done with this information? The Skin Picking Task Force wants to keep you informed about how your contribution to this study will help shape the future of the skin picking community. We have been discussing many possibilities of outreach, based on your input, but our decisions have yet to be confirmed and we will announce what the plan is once we have a solid outline on how to execute it! We will still need your help when this happens, so stay tuned and also know that there will be exciting ways to contribute to awareness efforts for BFRB Awareness Week from October 1st-7th!
Thank you so much for your honest input! I can guarantee you that each and every one of your responses was vital to our findings. We are the future and have the power to create the resources we want and need in order to further aide us in our recovery journeys.
<3 Angela Hartlin
Guest post by Danielle Roberts. Danielle is a Canadian freelance writer who graduated from the University of Calgary in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She is an avid runner, reader and mental health advocate who is committed to supporting others with dermatillomania. You can follow her on Twitter @PluviophileRead or on her blog: https://pluviophilereader.wordpress.com.
For those of us that are dealing and working through Dermatillomania, we’re all familiar with the major ups and downs of this condition. From going to a few weeks or hours without picking or just managing to reduce the picking to a minimum for a while, we’ve all encountered the occasional times after these instances when we are faced with a major relapse in our picking. These relapses are not only damaging to our skin but are often times devastating to our self-confidence and mental health. Here are some tips, remedies and advice to get back on track and staying positive through these tough times:
- Determine the trigger: Are you stressed? Getting enough sleep? Or perhaps you’re excited or anxious? These are vague trigger definitions but they are a start. Part of making progress with this condition is monitoring your habits and getting in touch with your triggers. Many people with this condition are self-sabotagers on other levels than with their skin. Whether it’s not getting enough sleep or exercise or just ravaging yourself with negativity and self-hate, recognizing these behaviors are essential for healing. Do you notice that you pick when you have trouble making decisions? When you’re overwhelmed and unorganized? When you have to face/deal with certain types of people or situations? Or are just triggered by perhaps the feel or look of your skin? Get specific and write it down. Create a habit log. It doesn’t have to be complicated but include things like how strong the urge was, how long you picked for, where were you when you were picking and how you felt. Once you start to notice a pattern of thoughts, behaviors and places where you pick you can start creating strategies for the future. Check out this great article on strategies for different types of triggers.
- Forgive and be kind: Relapses, just like skin picking, don’t define you or your progress. Be kind! Negative self-talk, hatred and pity will get you absolutely nowhere. Do not make yourself a victim. Victimization will perpetuate the cycle of picking and anxiety. Recognize that you’ve slipped, tell yourself it’s okay, give yourself a hug and look forward. I highly recommend diving into these books for further assistance in getting over some of these mental road blocks: “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown and “Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop” by Annette Pasternak. Check out TLC’s Store for more book recommendations.
- Don’t let the relapse hold you back: The red open wounds of a relapse make most of us want to crawl underneath the covers and never emerge but this is often one of the worst things that you can do. Don’t cancel plans over your skin and don’t let it stop you from doing what you want to do. Reclaim your control and get out there! Wallowing at home often leads to more picking and negativity.
- Reinforce positive thoughts and go back to your picking-reducing behaviors ASAP: If you know you can’t control yourself in certain instances there are few things that you can do to help keep your hands away.
- Disposable medical gloves work really well in keeping hands away from the skin. They are thin enough that they don’t get in the way of everyday tasks (they even work with touch screens) but will prevent you from looking for and picking at perceived imperfections.
- Cover up: if your pick spots are on places on your body cover them up so that you’re not tempted to inspect your skin.
- Set timers and cover up mirrors: If the bathroom is a room you can’t seem to get out of then cover that mirror and get yourself a timer so that when you do have to make use of that room you’re on a tight time limit. Create a system of rewards and punishments for making or breaking these time limits.
- Fidget toys and spinner rings: Keep those hands busy! There are many places where you can get these great little trinkets for your hands. Check out TLC’s Store for a few of these great items.
- Don’t want a fidget toy or a ring? Try knitting or making friendship bracelets.
- Healing the wounds you have made: So you’ve made peace with yourself but you’re still left with the open sores. Try these remedies to speed up healing and reduce redness:
- Apply a clay mask: clay reduces redness and draws out impurities to prevent infection. It can however dry the skin out don’t leave it on for more than 20 minutes.
- Try a mix of honey, cinnamon and lemon juice: Honey (unpasteurized is best) and lemon juice have natural anti-bacterial properties to keep those sores clean and infection free while the cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness and swelling. Leave it on as long as you want and remove by washing or wiping your face. This mixture works well on the fresh wounds, as it will help create a nice even scab making it less likely you will pick it off later and the sticky honey is a deterrent to keep your hands away from your skin.
- If you’re going to wear make-up try to let those wounds scab over to an extent and try not to cake it on. Use a green concealer to masks redness and a mix of foundation and pressed powders to get the best coverage. Get mineral based and oil free make-up to prevent further aggravation of your skin.
- Tea tree oil: a natural and pain-free antiseptic that will keep wounds clean and will dry them out quickly.
- Bactine: This pain-free antiseptic spray will clean out sores and has a pain reliever that will numb surface pain.
What are some of your tools for getting back on track toward recovery? Please share in the comments!
Online survey study about relationships and trichotillomania
American University is recruiting adults with trichotillomania who are interested in helping with research that aims to improve the existing treatments. Participation is confidential and involves answering questions about your hair pulling and relationships for about 20 minutes. All participants who complete the study will be entered into a raffle for a $10 Amazon gift card.
The survey is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LQF9RSF
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Martha Falkenstein, a graduate student at American University, at email@example.com