HabitAware’s goal is to make you aware of when you are subconsciously engaging in a repetitive physical behavior. Awareness is the first step in reversing body focused repetitive behaviors and studies show that treatment via awareness enhancing devices can help you take control of your life by stopping these behaviors.
Scientists are very interested in finding a solution to body focused repetitive behavior disorders, often obtaining government grants to conduct their research. The premise for HabitAware is backed by many of these academic studies.
In 1998, a study used an awareness enhancing device to augment habit reversal therapy. One patient was examined for this study. A tone sounded when the patient was about to pull hair. When the tone was heard, the patient was trained to replace the behavior with a “competing response,” that occupied the patient’s hands, thus making it even more difficult for the patient to pull. This resulted in near-zero pulls compared to habit reversal treatment on it’s own, which was not effective for this patient. (1)
In 2008, a group of researchers simulated an awareness enhancing device by having observers carefully monitor a small group of patients and manually “page” the patient when a noticeable trich-related event occurred. They compared the subjects’ instances of pulling with and without the device and noted that all of the pulling happened when the device was not in place. (2)
Put simply, if you use HabitAware, you can gain awareness of your subconscious behaviors. And once you have the awareness, you then also have the choice and the power to pull away instead of pulling your hair.
(1) Augmenting simplified Habit Reversal with an Awareness Enhancement Device: Preliminary Findings (1998) —John T. Rapp, Raymond G. Miltenberger, Ethan S. Long
(2) Prototype awareness enhancing and monitoring device for trichotillomania (2008) — Joseph A. Himle, David M. Perlman, Laura M. Lokers
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Together with Abbe Greenberg and Maggie Sarachek, of the Anxiety Sisters, and Lauren McKeaney of PickingME Foundation we recorded a podcast to share treatments for body focused repetitive behaviors like trichotillomania and dermatillomania, along with our mental health stories.
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