It seems insignificant when it starts, almost without realizing it, the affected person bites the skin of the fingers to the point where it becomes a habit. The problem becomes noticeable as soon as this practice is repeated daily in a totally unconscious action with which severe damage to the skin is produced. What is seen as an almost normal attitude is actually an impulse control disorder that becomes compulsive: dermatophagia, as it is called, is not something controllable, because those who suffer from it bite around their fingers until bleeding occurs and that is the only moment in which he realizes that he has overdone it, more than it should.
This disorder is known by the name of dermatophagia, because it is “eating skin”, derived from the Greek, it is an impression, although not real, that a person is eating himself. Of course, it is a certain part of the skin of the fingers. There are those who call people who suffer from this, as “wolf biters”. This definition is not surprising, as wolves do it frequently when they feel in times of danger or cornered. One of the main problems, in addition to the damage caused by constantly biting the area, is the risk of direct contact with the bacteria that we permanently carry on our hands. With our hands, more specifically with our fingers, we touch and brush against all kinds of objects, especially if we are in the streets. If we make purchases we touch money, the cell phone that,
For more data, it is proven that cell phones carry 30 times more bacteria than toilets. Those who suffer from this disorder do not precisely go to wash their hands before biting, which greatly increases the risk of contracting infectious diseases after doing so.
The situation of the person suffering from this disorder reaches such extremes without knowing that they are facing a disease, which is why they do not turn to a professional, unaware that they are suffering from a disease that they must treat with a specialist, above all, because the damage can be increased.
What are the consequences of dermatophagia? What does a patient with this problem face?
The person who bites himself over and over again, who does it until he causes a serious wound that bleeds and who, when healed, does it again, while forgetting the damage that was caused, develops a crust on the skin. In general, in the first moments they are minor wounds, but due to the insistence they lead to bleeding, where the wound is more exposed. Although the most visible thing is the poor condition of the hands that when you see them may seem worrying, the next thing is infectious diseases due to bacteria that can enter the body through that wound, that poorly healed wound or that is not It gives time for proper healing. Infections can not only occur in the bitten area but also in the mouth, which is permanently in contact with the open wound and the dirt that is so close at hand.
How do we stop dermatophagia?
Initially, certain home recipes may work to avoid getting bitten. There are specific enamels that are used in this type of situation. This has to do with the taste, that is, you feel the bitterness of the enamel on the skin and this automatically causes a rejection that prevents you from biting that area. False nails also help, which, being unnatural, causes a rejection of the possibility of biting. There are those who resort to extreme cases such as the use of gloves or mouth guards. It also helps to practice activities that occupy the mind with something that the patient likes and that keep the hands busy. Any type of distraction that has to do with crafts is of great importance in the task of preventing bites.
All these measures can be carried out when the problem is not of high severity, if this worsens, it is best to seek professional support, since we are facing an impulse control disorder, a state of nervous tension that is not being able to regulate and that needs to be treated by specialists.
To do this, you should turn to psychology professionals in cognitive behavioral therapy. This is the treatment indicated for impulse control disorders.
That is why people who are recurrent in injuring the skin of the fingers, should pay more attention to it that seems insignificant, but perhaps it is a warning sign that needs to be treated.