Does Rhinotillexomania Treatment Work?

By Danni Peck

Updated May 09, 2019

Reviewer Kay Adkins, LPC


Have you ever heard of rhinotillexomania? If you haven't then don't feel too bad, you're not alone. In fact, there are a lot of people who have never heard of this disorder even though it's a quite prevalent one, though maybe not to the extent that requires a medical diagnosis. That's because rhinotillexomania is just a fancy word for someone who has an irresistible compulsion to pick their nose. While this may seem strange or like something only children would do, it's a very real disorder, which requires medical treatment.

What is Rhinotillexomania?

In short, rhinotillexomania is compulsive picking of the nose. It's part of a family of different compulsive skin picking disorders and, believe it or not; it's a dangerous disorder. While many of us think of nose picking as being gross and something that only children engage in, it's something that can cause you serious harm if it continues for extended periods of time. That's because of the area of the body that your nose is a part of and, more importantly, where the blood comes from and goes to.

It's important to note that not everyone who picks their nose suffers from this disorder. Small children, for example, likely to not suffer from this disorder at all. Even older children or adults who pick their nose may not suffer from any compulsion to do so. If the activity is intentional and done of your own free will then it is not a compulsion or a disorder (though it's still not a good idea and can result in some of the dangers listed below). The difference between rhinotillexomania and simple nose picking is the compulsion that exists in the disorder.


Working with those you know who you suspect may have this disorder is important. Help them to see that getting help is the best thing for them and that it's going to help them get on with the other things they want to do in their life. The main problem with this disorder is that it causes people to feel self-conscious or feel guilt or shame and by opening up about it and seeking out treatment your loved ones or yourself can stop those feelings and start getting back to living their life the way that they want to. Any disorder can interfere with your daily life, and this one is treatable.

The Danger of Rhinotillexomania

The blood that circulates through the nose is directly linked to the blood that circulates through your brain, which means if something happens to the blood flow, it's going to impact your brain and the way it functions directly. Even worse, compulsive nose picking can result in infection in the nose and even through the blood and into the brain and other parts of the body because of the connection that it has to other areas. If the infection spreads to the brain, it can be extremely dangerous or even deadly if left untreated for any period.

Who Has Rhinotillexomania?

So, just who is at risk for this disorder? The truth is that a lot of people could have it and it may start in childhood and continue into adolescence and even into adulthood. For most, however, the actual disorder seems to occur somewhere in adolescence or early adulthood. Keep in mind; it's not just about picking your nose, but actually about compulsive picking that doesn't stop and doesn't have anything to do with hygiene or necessity. Instead, it's a compulsive way to ease tension or stress.

Someone who feels a large amount of stress in their normal life may be susceptible to the disorder. Those who have other types of compulsion disorders such as different forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder or those who have impulse control disorders or problems may be more susceptible to this type of disorder and may be more likely to suffer from a combination of different disorders with similar causes. Of course, this disorder, as with many others, has some different possible causes and therefore is difficult to understand where it comes from.


Symptoms of Rhinotillexomania

Okay, so if it's not just about picking your nose what should you be looking for when it comes to symptoms? Someone with this disorder is going to pick their nose, and they're going to do it a lot because they feel very strong compulsions to do so. They're going to continue picking their nose even to the point of bleeding or severe irritation because they can't seem to stop themselves from doing it. They may have excessive nosebleeds or seem to have infections or other problems with their nose or even with headaches and other areas of the head.

These individuals also experience excessive tension and anxiety leading up to the activity that may be caused by things like stress or negative aspects of their life. They may then feel relief or gratification after they engage in the activity but may follow this up with shame or even guilt. They will try to hide the behavior, but it may still be somewhat apparent to those who are around them frequently or by simply keeping an eye on their overall behavior at various times.

Someone who engages in this type of behavior may engage in other, similar behaviors as well. Many who report picking their nose excessively and may be diagnosed with rhinotillexomania have also reported behaviors such as picking at skin, biting fingernails, pulling out their hair and picking at their cuticles. These behaviors are all considered different types of skin picking disorders and may occur at different frequencies. Someone may pick at different parts of the body or different areas more or less frequently than they do others. They may also pick at different areas at different times and may engage in other behaviors related to the skin picking.

Treatment of Rhinotillexomania

So what kind of treatment exists for someone suffering from rhinotillexomania? The best thing that you can do is seek out professional help. There is likely an underlying cause or problem with the disorder, as it's considered an obsessive-compulsive or impulse control disorder. By learning to control impulses more completely and learning different and more positive forms of problem-solving and stress relief. By working with a professional, it's possible to work on these problems, and then you'll be able to work toward a more positive future for yourself.


Finding the right professional to work with you can be difficult because you're typically limited by the people that are available in your area, but you don't need to be limited at all. Instead, you can take a look at the online options for your psychiatrist appointment. That way, you'll have no problem finding someone that can help you with anything you might be suffering, without having to worry about where they practice. You only have to worry about when you can get online and where you feel the most comfortable. Then you just log on, and you're ready to go.

BetterHelp is a great way to get the online help that you're looking for, so you don't need to worry about making it to a physical location for appointments or going out when you've just gotten home from work or school. Instead, you can simply relax on the couch or at your table, and you won't have to worry about anything. It's great for anyone who needs or wants the assistance but wants more flexibility and a whole lot more freedom to find whatever you need. Check out BetterHelp for anything that you need a psychiatrists' help for.


Talking to a general physician or your family physician is also extremely important when it comes to this disorder because it is possible that problems could come up that you don't even know about. You may not even realize that you've caused any damage to the inside of the nose or the blood vessels that interact with the nose and the brain but it's possible that there is a problem. A doctor will also be able to diagnose any other condition that may be causing the rhinotillexomania and therefore helps you with a different type of treatment before you seek out treatment for this disorder.

If you're looking for help with rhinotillexomania or anything else you want to make sure that you are getting through it faster than ever. By recognizing the problem right away and getting on with the treatment as quickly as possible, you're going to have an easier time of it when it comes to getting on with your life the way that you want. Just take a little bit of time to check out the website and see what's out there for you. You'll be feeling a whole lot better about yourself in no time, and you'll be able to curb the compulsions that have been hounding you for so long.

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