Habit Reversal Tip #19 Circumstantial Scratching

author/source: DrB


Habitual scratching
of the skin, including rubbing and picking, is usually done without thinking. Initially triggered by itch, when scratching is repeated in particular circumstances, it becomes linked, or conditioned, to occur when those situations happen again, even when there is no itch!

As well as itch, stress can also trigger scratching. Activities such as using the telephone can be stressful sometimes, but become regularly associated with scratching through conditioning, even when the call is easy and stress-free.

Before starting habit reversal the hand tally counter is used to make relatively unconscious, automatic habitual scratching more conscious. This awareness is needed to change a habit.

Awareness allows the links between the habit and circumstances, situations and activities each day to be clearly seen.

For many adults with chronic atopic eczema early morning, the first part of the evening, and last thing at night before bed and sleep, are often particular times for habitual scratching.

The circumstances associated with habitual scratching can then be usefully divided up under two headings - indispensable, and dispensable - remembering the habit reversal programme only lasts four to six weeks. At the end of  the programme all circumstances can become as before: habit reversal training is complete.

Dispensible circumstances may not be that many, but they are really helpful at the beginning of the programme. Often for adults with chronic atopic eczema, changing clothes on coming home after work, and when watching TV in the evening, are associated with habitual scratching. If unnecessary changing of clothes, and watching of TV in the evening can be dispensed with for even two weeks at the beginning of the habit reversal programme, the amount of habitual scratching each day will be reduced immediately!

The Combined Approach requires this successful habit reversal is combined with optimal topical treatment. Natural healing and medical treatment combined give the programme an important kick start - nothing succeeds like success: early good results in a few days only encourage the use of all the programme to completely clear the skin of chronic eczema in just four to six weeks.

Well worth the effort!