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What Is BFRB

- Understanding the Behavior -

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, or BFRBs, are a set of disorders categorized by self-grooming routines that essentially go awry. These include pulling, picking, biting, or scraping one's hair, skin, or nails. The disorders include Trichotillomania or TTM (compulsive hair pulling), Dermatillomania, (compulsive skin picking, also called excoriation disorder), and onychophagia (compulsive nail biting). The prevalence of BFRBs is estimated to be at least 3 percent of the population, affecting both children and adults.

The question of why individuals engage in BFRBs, and how the disorders should be categorized, has long challenged psychologists. BFRBs have been theorized to be related to anxiety disorders, impulse-control-disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders, but most experts agree that they differ significantly from all three. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Health disorders, the 5th edition (DSM-5) classified these behaviors as mental health disorders (2013)

The DSM-5 has added a revised version to include a comprehensive review of the impact and racism and discrimination on the diagnosis and manifestations of mental disorders.  This will help clinicians and researchers define and classify mental disorders which can improve diagnosis, treatments, and research.  This now provides culturally sensitive services.

Certain BFRBs are currently categorized as “obsessive-compulsive and related disorders” in the DSM-5. Regardless of how the behaviors are categorized, they are difficult for individuals to control.

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