This website offers helpful information about body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) such as nail biting, trichotillomania (compulsive pulling out of the hair), skin picking (scratching/nibbling of the skin), or lip-cheek biting. We want to provide affected people with scientifically based self-help techniques free of charge (for more information about the effectiveness of the different techniques, please click on the link to Self-Help Techniques).
Symptoms of body-focused repetitive behaviors are seen in over 90 percent of the population
Symptoms of BFRBs are seen in well over 90 percent of the population, with occasional nail biting and picking of the skin being particularly frequent (Moritz et al., 2023a). BFRBs have visible consequences for up to 24 percent of the population over the course of their lifetime (Moritz et al., 2023a). If not treated, the disorder tends to become chronic. Approximately 10 percent of the population requires treatment at least once due to distress and visible damage to their skin, hair, or nails. BFRBs are especially common in children and can lead to self-esteem problems as well as to being teased and excluded. Many of those affected suffer in silence. The disorder is under-researched, under-diagnosed, and under-treated.
Although BFRBs affect many in our society, relatively few websites offer concrete and evidence-based help, i.e., interventions that have been proven to be effective in controlled studies. On this site, we would like to provide you with information on what you can do to help yourself and who you can turn to if your efforts are not successful.
This website was developed together with Prof. Steffen Moritz from the University Medical Center Eppendorf in Hamburg (Germany) and his team who have been researching body-focused repetitive behaviors for many years. On this site, you will find a video they created that teaches affected individuals a number of self-help techniques that studies have shown to be effective. Because every “tic” or habit is different and what is helpful for one person might not be effective for another, we also suggest Self-Help Literature as well as other tips, tricks, and products recommended by other affected people. We recommend the ones we are convinced are truly helpful and do not merely represent avoidance strategies.
And now—where should you start? We advise those who suffer from BFRBs to first watch this video (alternatively, you could read through this text with the same content if you prefer reading), which explains behavioral techniques to prevent BFRBs. The disorder is like a perfect storm where several things come together. We therefore suggest gradually supplementing these techniques with other methods, such as downloading our app COGITO (for raising self-esteem and well-being), sharing experiences with other sufferers (see Links, Videos, and More), and trying products that help reduce the urge to harm one’s own body (see Helpful Things).
Do you know someone who is affected by BFRBs? Would you like to deepen your understanding of the topic to support them? We provide some contacts for exchanging information with other family members and affected persons (see Links, Videos, and More) as well as specific guides that are also aimed at family members (see Self-Help Books).
Under Symptoms, you will find information about the various conditions.
We do not have any commercial intentions with this website. The proceeds we make by linking to third-party products finance the maintenance costs.
This website is not interactive. If you are looking for a place to chat and exchange ideas with other affected people, we recommend the website of the TLC Foundation and BFRB-related Facebook groups (see also Links, Videos, and More).
Enjoy reading and watching and, above all, good luck!
Keywords: overcoming body focused repetitive behaviors; online therapy for skin picking; bfrb disorder; body focused repetitive behaviors; body-focused repetitive behaviors; cavitadaxia; bfrb cheek biting; trichophagy;