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Coping with Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours (BFRBs) are a group of psychological disorders characterized by repetitive self-grooming behaviours that result in damage to the body. These behaviours often serve as coping mechanisms for various emotional distresses, such as anxiety, stress, or boredom. The most common BFRBs include trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder), dermatillomania (skin-picking disorder), and onychophagia (nail-biting). Coping with BFRBs can be challenging, but with awareness, understanding, and the right strategies, individuals can effectively manage and mitigate these behaviours.



  1. Awareness and Acceptance:

– The first step in coping with BFRBs is to become aware of the behaviours and acknowledge that they are a form of coping with underlying emotional challenges. Acceptance of the condition is crucial to avoid feelings of shame or guilt.


  1. Seek Professional Help:

– Consult with a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or therapist, who specializes in BFRBs. They can help assess the severity of the behaviours, identify triggers, and develop a personalized treatment plan.


  1. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT):

– CBT is a highly effective approach for treating BFRBs. It helps individuals understand the thought patterns and emotions associated with the behaviours. Learning to replace negative thoughts with healthier coping mechanisms is a central aspect of CBT.


  1. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques:

– Practicing mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation can reduce stress and anxiety, which are often triggers for BFRBs. These techniques help individuals stay present and manage their impulses.


  1. Identify Triggers and Develop Alternative Coping Strategies:

– Recognize the situations or emotions that trigger BFRBs. Find healthier alternatives to cope with these triggers, such as engaging in hobbies, exercise, journaling, or talking to a supportive friend.


  1. Create a Support Network:

– Share your struggles with trusted friends and family members who can offer emotional support. Join online or in-person support groups specifically focused on BFRBs to connect with others who understand your experiences.



Coping with Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours requires a multifaceted approach, combining self-awareness, professional help, behavioural strategies, and emotional support. Remember that overcoming BFRBs is a gradual process, and setbacks may occur. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way. By implementing these coping strategies, individuals can gain control over their BFRBs, leading to improved emotional well-being and a healthier relationship with their bodies.

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