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Excoriation (skin-picking) disorder: a systematic review of treatment options

Authors Lochner C, Roos A, Stein DJ

Received 26 April 2017

Accepted for publication 26 May 2017

Published 14 July 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1867—1872


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Video abstract presented by Christine Lochner

Views: 5946

Christine Lochner,1 Annerine Roos,1 Dan J Stein2

1SU/UCT MRC Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; 2SU/UCT MRC Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract: Although pathological skin-picking has been documented in the medical literature since the 19th century, it has only recently been included as a distinct entity in psychiatric classification systems. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition and the proposed International Classification of Diseases, Eleventh Revision, excoriation (skin-picking) disorder (ED), also known as neurotic excoriation, psychogenic excoriation, or dermatillomania), is described as recurrent picking of skin, leading to skin lesions and significant distress or functional impairment. ED is listed as one of the obsessive–compulsive and related disorders, given its overlap with conditions such as trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder). Arguably, its inclusion and delineation in the diagnostic nomenclature will lead to increased awareness of the condition, more research, and ultimately in treatment advances. This systematic review aims to provide readers with an up-to-date view of current treatment options for ED. A MEDLINE search of the ED treatment literature was conducted to collate relevant articles published between 1996 and 2017. The findings indicate that a number of randomized controlled trails on ED have now been published, and that current management options include behavioral therapy (habit reversal or acceptance-enhanced behavior therapy), and medication (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or N-acetyl cysteine).

Keywords: excoriation, skin-picking, treatment, habit reversal therapy, behavioral therapy, pharmacotherapy, systematic review

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