Body-focused repetitive behaviours (BFRBs)

· April 9, 2022

 Refer to recurrent and chronic behaviours inflicted upon the body (like nail-biting and hair-pulling) that often result in physical damage. Examples of BFRBs include:

  • Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder)
  • Excoriation/Dermatillomania (skin-picking disorder)
  • Onychophagia (nail biting)
  • Dermatophagia (skin biting)
  • Rhinotillexomania (nose picking)
  • Cheek/lip biting

In the DSM-5, BFRBs fall under the “other specified obsessive-compulsive and related disorder” category. Only trichotillomania and excoriation appear as separate entries in the DSM-5 with their diagnostic classifications.

BFRBs can be impulsive because individuals often mindlessly partake in them. These behaviours can also be compulsive, wherein individuals are aware of what they’re doing and often want to stop the behaviour but feel that they can’t. Those who have BFRBs report feeling pleasure and pain from these habits, and they often dislike the consequences of their behaviours, making it a distressing group of conditions.

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