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Keywords:

  • trichotillomania;
  • skin-picking;
  • self-injurious;
  • stereotypic

Abstract

Although trichotillomania and pathological skin-picking are both characterized by repetitive self-injurious stereotypic behaviors, the former is classified as an impulse control disorder, while the latter is not given a specific diagnostic category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition) [APA, 1994]. There are, however, few empirical data on phenomenological similarities and differences between these disorders. Patients with trichotillomania and pathological skin-picking were compared in terms of several demographic (age, gender), clinical (comorbid axis I and II disorders), and personality variables.

Trichotillomania and pathological skin-picking were very similar in demographics, psychiatric comorbidity, and personality dimensions. Dissociative symptoms may be more common in trichotillomania than in pathological skin-picking. These data support the concept of phenomenological overlap between trichotillomania and pathological skin-picking. Future work to assess the implications of overlap for clinical evaluation and intervention in the two conditions may be useful. Depression and Anxiety 15:83–86, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.