What is a BFRB?
Learn more about what Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviour (BFRB) is, from the more common behaviours like Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania, to the not-so-common ones, like Dermatophagia. Click on the heading to read more on a BFRB.
Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRBs)
Body- Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRBs) is an umbrella term for any chronic behavior that causes a person to consistently cause physical damage to oneself unintentionally through a compulsive act in order to relieve anxiety. BFRBs are pathological grooming behaviours that are thought to be driven by similar impulsive urges, linking them together but manifesting differently in the following ways:
Dermatillomania (Excoriation/Skin Picking Disorder)
Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling Disorder, Trich, TTM)
Scab Eating Disorder
While there are other behaviors that are considered to be harmful to the body when practiced compulsively, they fall under the Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum, Impulse Control Disorder, or triggered by Body Dysmorphic Disorder instead of being BFRB’s. These behaviors may relieve anxiety in a person but when an external factor is brought into the equation causing it to not be a direct effect of body-to-body contact (although Trichotemnomania is in the “grey area”), it does not fall under the category of Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors. This list includes:
- Excessive tanning
- Compulsive hand- washing and/or showering
- Obsession/Addiction to plastic surgery
- Excessive tattooing/body piercing
- Weight Modification (turning into a disorder, such as Anorexia, Bulimia, or Muscle Dysphoria)
- Compulsive exercising
- Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and addictive drugs/ medications all fall under the Addiction category; these are also separate from BFRBs because they are chemically induced. Although not all addiction is purely chemical for some people (others have emotional/ psychological attachments to the drug), these substances contain elements that have an external influence, which BFRBs do not.
Although OCD, Habits, Impulse Control Disorders, Addictions, and BFRBs have similarities based on their effects on a person, they have components to their categorizations that separate them from each other, even if seemingly on an acute level. What can be agreed on is that each behavior listed in these categories can require counseling to overcome and people are able to benefit from support groups available for each affliction. BFRBs do not have many support groups due to a lack of awareness, research, or training, which makes it vital for the community to band together and build onto the small lists of resources already available.