Prevalence of skin picking (excoriation) disorder

Jon E Grant, Samuel R Chamberlain
Journal of Psychiatric Research 2020, 130: 57-60
Skin picking (excoriation) disorder is a mental health condition characterized by repetitive picking of one's skin leading to tissue damage as well as functional impairment and/or distress. A convenience sampling of 10,169 adults, aged 18-69 years, representative of the general US population, completed a survey to establish occurrence of skin picking disorder. 213 participants (2.1%) (55.4% female) identified as having current skin picking disorder and 318 (3.1%) (54.1% female) reported lifetime skin picking disorder (i.e. current or past). Those with current skin picking disorder were significantly more likely to be female compared to those who never had skin picking (Likelihood Ratio, LR chi-square = 31.705, p < 0.001). Mental health comorbidities were common with generalized anxiety disorder (63.4%), depression (53.1%), and panic disorder (27.7%) being the most frequently endorsed. This study suggests that skin picking disorder is relatively common in the general population and typically characterized by high rates of comorbidity.

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