Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) include any repetitive self-grooming behavior that involves biting, pulling, picking, or scraping one’s own hair, skin, lips, cheeks, or nails that can lead to physical damage to the body and have been met with multiple attempts to stop or decrease the behavior.
Common BFRBs include hair pulling, skin picking, nail biting, and cheek biting. Other body-focused repetitive behaviors include hair eating, nail picking, skin biting, lip biting, tongue chewing, and hair cutting.
For some, the BFRB journey can last a lifetime. For others, their BFRBs wax and wane, with periods of no picking, pulling, or biting. For some, they are able to regulate and stop their behaviors completely.
It's important to remember that this is a very personal, individual journey. No two BFRB journeys are alike. It's up to you to decide how to best manage your BFRBs. Finding space and grace to make good choices for yourself will help you gain clarity on what you want.
Getting connected to community and meeting others on the BFRB journey gives you a variety of perspectives from which to grow. Strive for progress over perfection. You've got this and we've got you!
Research indicates that some people may have an inherited predisposition for skin picking or hair pulling. Several studies have shown a higher number of BFRBs in immediate family members of persons with skin picking or hair pulling disorders than would be expected in the general population. In addition, a recent study examined hair pulling in both identical and fraternal twins and produced results consistent with a significant inherited component in hair pulling disorder. So we can safely say that BFRBs are more than likely inherited, at least to some degree.
Research into treatments for BFRBs, particularly hair pulling disorder and skin picking disorder, has grown steadily over the past decade. Although no one treatment has been found to be effective for everyone, a number of evidence-based treatment options have shown promise for many people.