Body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) is a term for a variety of related disorders, which includes hair pulling, skin picking, nail- and cheek-biting, among others. These behaviors are complex disorders rather than habits or tics. At least 5% of the population repeatedly touch their hair and body in ways that cause bodily harm.

Common Types of Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Hair-Pulling Disorder 

People with trichotillomania pull their hair out from their scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, and other areas, often leaving thin spots and noticeable bald patches. Up to 20% of people who have hair-pulling disorder also swallow the hair.

idle hands quote

Skin Picking Disorder 

Dermatillomania causes people to repeatedly touch, rub, scratch, pick, and dig at their skin, leading to skin discoloration, scarring, and even tissue damage and disfigurement.

Nail-biting Disorder 

People with onychophagia bite their nails past the nail bed and chew on their cuticles, causing sores and infection.

Other body focused repetitive behaviors include biting cheeks, picking at nails, eating scabs, and other uncontrollable self-grooming-type behaviors.

There is Support for BFRBs

If you or someone you love has BFRBs, you might feel frightened, confused, or alone. We’ve felt that way too.

That’s why we started Our Idle Hands — to provide products, resources, and support specifically for adults with these disorders. So take a deep breath, relax, and know that we’re here to help!

Want to learn more and connect with other adults like you? Read more about online mental health help here. Join our private Facebook Group.