All You Want To Know About Body Focused Repetitive Behavior Disorder

Last Update on December 21, 2020 : Published on December 21, 2020
Body focused repetitive behavior

Quick Facts Check:

● People facing Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior or BFRB engage in activities that involve in body repetitive behaviors like nail-biting, hair pulling, cheek chewing, lip biting, etc. The urge of repeating this behavior is intense and can even damage the part of the skin.

●  It is said that 1 in 20 people suffer from BFRB but mostly they are dismissed with the term ‘bad habit’. Some of the symptoms may match with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but they are not exactly the same.

● Cognitive-behavioral therapy is provided to the person dealing with BFRB in order to calm down the symptoms. If required, some medications are also prescribed.


As per TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, such behavior is also called a self-grooming act which leads to damage of the body parts like excessive scraping of skin, pulling off hair, biting fingernails and skin and picking up lips. These behaviors could be ignored unless they interfere with your daily lifestyle and cut down the positivity and confidence within.

It is not that the person is much concerned about the appearance or look but the reason for such behavior could be tension or anxiety and repeating it could only relieve the feeling. However, the repetition only results in deformation or ridges in the skin which can eventually lead to purple black spots on the skin.

Who Can Have BFRB?

Experts are researching constantly on the reasons behind such behavior but it is also known that genes are involved in the process. If your family member has symptoms then it is likely that you can have it too. Apart from genes, stress, childhood instances and the age when it started also matters.

How Diagnosis Of Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior Disorder Is Done?

The doctors look for the symptoms like:

  • If you are manipulating a body part or damaging it due to the disorder.
  • If you are trying to stop this activity but not able to.
  • If you are distressed about the behavior and cannot function as properly as required.

How To Manage BFRB By Yourself?

Collecting the tips from those who have actually dealt with BFRB as well as excoriation disorder, we are giving you tips on how to self-manage body focused repetitive disorder.

1. Check Your Progress With An App

A habit tracker app in your phone would collect your data on one single page so that you can focus on things that are important to you or not. With such an app, you can even figure out other alternatives like reading books, working out, and spending time that constitutes better habits.

2. Mindfulness

When you are mindful of your current situation, stopping the repeated behavior becomes a little easy. Whenever you are triggered with negative thoughts, your mindfulness guides you to undertake positive actions against the will.

3. Soothe Your Skin

Develop a routine for skin care and keep the ritual alive. For example, if you want to bite your lips while watching TV, it is best to balm your lips and massage them. If you wish to bite the nails, just fold your hands with lotion in the blanket and enjoy a good series.

4. Log Your Urge & Triggers

Keep a logbook in which you must mention the triggers and urges and their impact on the scale of 1-10. You can even note down the consequent thoughts that you are having in the moment. These logs are helpful to show to the therapist or even acts as an analyzer for one’s own habits.

5. Find A Community

A strong support system helps an individual as people with similar issues can come together and share their problems. You can join online support groups and share issues and experiences together with empathy.

How To Treat Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior Disorder?

If you are diagnosed with BFRB, there are two methods of treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is provided to treat the disorder where a person is taught to reverse the thought process and keep it in a positive mode. People are taught about how to be more aware of their thoughts, find situations that trigger them and use smart strategies to reverse the negativities.

At the same time, medications like antidepressants could be prescribed by the therapist for treatment strategy.


Understanding body focused repetitive behavior disorder is the first step to the treatment. As the person is aware of the facts, diagnosis and treatment of the disorder, it becomes easier to get rid of unhealthy behavior. If you wish to connect you with a counselor or therapist today, drop us a message at and be unhesitant to ask for help.

About The Author

Akanksha Soni
Akanksha Soni

Akanksha is an active lifestyle blogger and writer at Calmsage. She has learnt various lessons on happiness and methods to fight depression through 'Gurus' as well as own experiences. An ardent practitioner of Yoga and meditation, she keeps traveling, writes and interacts with people to feel alive.

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