Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors or BFRBs, encompass a range of self-grooming behaviors that individuals engage in repetitively and compulsively, often leading to physical damage and emotional distress. Common examples include skin picking (dermatillomania), hair pulling (trichotillomania), and fingernail biting. BFRBs can significantly impact an individual’s daily life, self-esteem, and overall well-being. Seeking appropriate treatment is essential for managing and reducing the impact of these behaviors.

Symptoms of Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Recognizing the symptoms associated with BFRBs can help people identify when they require professional support. Some common signs of BFRBs include:

  1. Repetitive Behavior: Individuals may repeatedly engage in behaviors such as picking at the skin, pulling hair, or biting nails, often feeling unable to control or resist the urge to do so.
  2. Physical Damage: BFRBs can lead to noticeable physical damage, including skin wounds, scarring, hair loss, or damaged nails and cuticles.
  3. Emotional Distress: Engaging in BFRBs can evoke feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, or frustration, as individuals struggle to control or stop the behaviors.
  4. Impaired Functioning: BFRBs can interfere with daily activities, relationships, and productivity, causing difficulties at work, school, or social settings.

Treatment Strategies for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Our therapists at OCD Spectrum specialize in providing effective treatment for BFRBs, employing evidence-based approaches that address the factors that fuel these behaviors. Here are two primary therapies known for their success in treating BFRBs:

  • Habit Reversal: Habit Reversal Therapy (HRT) has long been recognized as a leading treatment for BFRBs. HRT focuses on raising awareness of the behaviors, identifying triggers and antecedents, and implementing alternative responses to replace the repetitive actions. This therapy helps individuals develop healthier coping strategies and interrupt the cycle of BFRBs (Woods et al., 2019).
  • Comprehensive Behavioral Model (ComB): The Comprehensive Behavioral Model (ComB) is a newer therapeutic approach that provides a detailed framework for addressing BFRBs across multiple domains. ComB emphasizes creating a personalized treatment plan that targets the specific BFRB exhibited by the individual, with a thorough examination of five key domains: Sensory, Cognitive, Affective State, Motor, and Place (SCAMP). By considering these aspects, ComB aims to comprehensively address the various factors contributing to BFRBs and provide tailored interventions for each individual (Grant et al., 2017).

If you have a BFRB and you would like to receive treatment, our therapists will be glad to help you find effective strategies to drastically diminish the impact on your life.