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What is Obsessive Skin Picking?

We believe that Dermatillomania, Excoriation Disorder, or Compulsive or Obsessive Skin Picking is a progressive and sometimes fatal illness that can never be cured but that can be arrested and that may take many forms.

Some of our members pick at blemishes or imperfections on various or all parts of their bodies, others only in select areas, or may interfere with wound healing (scab pulling), and may use implements to assist with picking behavior as well as fingernails and teeth.

Those with this disorder may cause repeated infections, significant scarring or disfigurement, may have wounds that are open or unhealed for a period of years, and may take elaborate measures to cover the evidence of the damage caused by the disease, such as wearing elaborate makeup or hairstyles or getting tattoos to disguise and hide scarring.


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We believe that by following the simple Twelve Step program which has proven successful with other OSPA Members, Alcoholics, Drug Addicts, Overeaters and many other groups of afflicted persons, one can cease their self-destructive pattern of behavior and heal physically, emotionally and spiritually. We are examples of this recovery.

As a part of this program we learn to accept our personal powerlessness over this disease, stop trying to white knuckle our way into abstinence and instead seek to discover and nurture a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves which serves to strengthen and heal us, while enabling us to return to more normal patterns of living, social lives, and job activities. Our relationships with family and friends may be restored and we may find happiness and heal from our deep shame at long last.

Also as a part of this program we discover the deep satisfaction that reaching out to another suffering member brings to us, and we learn that it is in giving that we receive the gift of recovery from this devastatingly destructive illness.

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