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Guest Morgana

Dermatillomania

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Guest Em

My gosh I thought I was alone! I started popping my pimples in gr. 5 when I got acne, then, out of the blue, I started eating my blackheads and pimple puss. No body but you guys know about this. Now I feel a little better that I know I'm not alone. :)

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I've been doing this all of my life. Still do - I keep trying to stop, but it never works for long. I didn't know it had a name (or was recognized as existing, let alone that so many other folks did it too). Funny.

Does it make us along the OCD spectrum? Or does it just happen to be in that category?

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Thanks for posting on this topic, thought I was the only one.

Used to pick at a scab on the top of my head, during math class, in grade school. The scab would never quite heal, I'd eat it & suck the blood off my fingers. Damn. Guess I did this somewhat unconsciously until the kid in back of me grabbed my hand, shoved it in my face & said "look what you are doing to yourself"!! Be nice to find that kid & thank him for pointing out my behavior, stopped that particular destruction that day, went on chewing off split ends in high school & then leg picking/digging.

Quite odd the math teacher didn't report this !!!!

Just last year EMDR pretty much eradicated the self destruction....21+ years of it, amaZing to have a body left!

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hey there

I eat my hair folicles. I pull hair everywhere until I pull a hair that has a giant piece of hair folicle at the end and I like it and play with it and then eat it. Or pick it apart with pins. I have been doing this for 13 years now. also eat my pimples when I pop them or I burn myself intentionally so I can pick at the wounds healing. I don't know how to talk to a doctor about this. I feel like I am the only one.

Saxsli :(

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OMG! I have been picking and eating for most of my life. I knew I couldn't be the only one but it's not exactly something you bring up in conversation with friends! I'm not sure what prompted me to google it this afternoon, but I am glad I did. It is something I want to change but I am just not sure how to go about that.

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Sooooo guilty. I admit that reading about others doing it grosses me out (sorry,sorry), and seeing others do it, too. But when I do it, it's kinda like I'm... transfixed? And it's like, OoOooh, I can't wait until that scabs over so I can peel it off [and eat it] :unsure: So I understand completely. I've always picked, bit and ate the skin at the side of my nails, especially my thumbs. More yucky stuff, but I won't go into any other details because it's embarrassing for me. I won't even tell my boyfriend,who is constantly picking at his skin. I've never seen him eat anything he picks off,though.

Edited by velcro

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Definitely not alone!

I've been doing this since I was a child. Open sores in my mouth from chewing on my cheeks. My lips are often dry, and I'll peel the flakes off with my teeth or fingers and chew on them. The worst is my fingernails and cuticles. I chew them with my teeth and rip off skin until I'm bleedng and my fingers are raw. I'm too embarrassed to get a pedicure. I pick scabs and chew on them sometimes. I have a bad oral fixation.. and as I type this I'm chomping on my cheek. I do it without really noticing. No idea why.

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this is a huge problem for me. i was a thumbsucker until age 10, and as i sucked i would rub the skin underneath my nose raw until it bled and scabbed. around age 8 or so i developed trichotillomania, which i had strongly for a few years and more or less went away by the end of college. i ate the hair and got bullied quite a bit about that. the worst part of it that i can't stop is the nail biting, which started around age 7, when i also became nearly incapacitated with OCD. i am 29, and in the last year i have bitten one of my nails clean off and have picked and chewed on the exposed nail bed so that the nail will never grow back. i am so ashamed about this. i am permanently disfigured. i know at job interviews they look at your nails and it counts against you if they are bitten. how will i ever get a decent position with a gnawed up stub on my right hand? my boyfriend is disgusted by my behavior and i know he is also ashamed of it, but i still can't stop. every day i swear to myself that i will be strong, that i won't give in, and every day i fail.

i pick my skin as well, but this is much better since i have found a combination of prescription cleanser (Plexion) and ointment (Ziana) that keeps my skin pretty clear. sometimes, though, i will stay in the bathroom for 45 minutes just squeezing at pores trying to get something out.

i also chew the skin off my lips and have chewed the inside of my cheeks and lips to the point where they once turned purple and swelled up to the size of a jawbreaker. that one was pretty difficult to explain at work.

i just read through the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Compulsive Scale on my own, which i took formally at the time of my diagnosis of OCD and Tourettes at age 14. it made me realize that my obsessive compulsive disorder is still severe, although i had convinced myself it had mostly gone away because i tend to discount the obsessions and most of my compulsions are "silent," and nobody notices what I'm doing except me. they only notice that i have spaced out and lost time and have no idea what is going on around me, and then of course people are angry and annoyed and think i just don't care about anything.

it makes me feel completely helpless. i am on my second try with anafranil right now, but it isn't doing very much besides making me sleepy at night and reducing my dependence on temazepam for insomnia, but that's almost like just trading one drug for the other. i read about n-acetyl cysteine today and ordered myself some. maybe it will help, or maybe it will just sit in the vitamins basket along with the other 50 or so supplements i have tried for all of the made up diseases i have been convinced that i had.

sorry for the long post on a dead topic, except obviously not really that sorry or i wouldn't post.

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I started Pulling out and eating my hair at the age of 9 and stopped at the age of 27. At my worst, all my eyelashes, eyebrows, and 80% of my head hair was missing. The only way I was able to stop was to replace one addiction with another- that is, pulling out and eating my hair with using pain medications and then eventually abusing them. Of course, it did help that for the first time in my life I had a loving, kind sensitive husband that cared for me and loved me despite my many flaws... I really think that after years of abuse and feeling "different" or "not right" it took a long time to bring my barriers down- but I'm glad I did.

In the interest of full-disclosure (Which I've noticed can be a tad sketchy at times on this site) I'll mention that in addition to pulling out and eating my hair (mostly the roots) I would also eat my nails, cuticles, skin from my feet, toenails, and acne as well as it's output (Pus, blackheads, etc.). Smelling a sub dermal yeast ball or pus infection can be just as enjoyable as anything else- but nothing, and I mean *nothing* in my book beats pulling out a thick textured hair with blood on the end and a crunch to the root as opposed to a soggy mess.

Ah- one thing I neglected to share as I had forgotten- certain foods will give me inflamed taste buds, or "canquer sores" I suppose they are called. They are so painful for me that I will take nail scissors and cut them off/out of my tongue. The remaining pain is fiery and intense, plus there is TONS of blood, but it hurts waaaay less than the sores did. Go figure.

And as disgusting as this all is... I know I'm not the only one. So feel free to relax, share, and not be judged. :)

The best advice I can give as a person in "remission" from this disease, is twofold: Anxiety medications (in moderation) and Behavior Modification Therapy. These are the only two things which will actually work. Best wishes!

-Kaisa

Bipolar II, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ADD, Bulemia Nervosa. Lamictal, Seroquel, Lexapro, Vyvanse, Valium

Edited by suomii

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Wow I thought for the longest time I was the only one. I don't know anybody personally that has these weird habits but I feel at home strangely while reading all these posts by other people. It's also really embarassing and I have never told anybody about this but I get so frustrated...

I am a picker and an eater. Mostly dandruff but scabs will do as well. I can't control it and I keep telling myself it is disgusting but I can't stop doing it. I am also too embarassed to speak with a doctor about this or seek help.

 

There is something so satisfying about lifting off the dandruff flakes that appear on my scalp. I have a large amount of sharp objects at hand around my room at all times, and I constantly sneak away to the bathroom and stab underneath all my dandruff to lift them. If it makes a scab thats even better, I will probably pick at it later. The larger the dandruff or scab, the more satisfying. Then I must eat all of the dead skin I have collected, I love to chew it. It grosses me out so much...

 

I am also a compulsive nail bitter, I will bite and eat my nails at any given opportunity. Also I am compulsive where anything that shows up on my skin surface I must pick off. However like many people mention they eat pimples or feet skin, I am not at that stage yet and hope to never be... Just want to cry.

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I stopped eating my skin after a girl in grade school told me I would get worms if I did. even though i didn't think that was very plausible, the visual was enough to deter me because I have a constant paranoia of parasitic infestation :P anyway, you're not alone! i pick at the skin around my fingers, mostly my thumbs. i don't know when i started, i don't think i noticed i did it until it got to the point where i couldn't ignore the embarrassment  my fingers are usually bloody now and when i've been picking a lot i lose the coloring on my fingertips. been trying to stop for years, but i am finally nearing the point of not caring. i've recognized it as a stress response and its just about the only coping mechanism i have so i use it keeps my anxiety somewhat a bay.

 

i sometimes like keeping it at finger picking because my fingers are already ruined. if i stopped picking them, i would just pick something else. as a kid i used to scratch the paint off the walls and shred paper. i'm never conscious of it as i do it. the one time i started curtailing my picking, i just started plucking hairs instead. Ended up with some ridiculous looking eyebrows so i am not allowed near tweezers anymore. 

 

anyone ever considered a biological component before? i saw my dad today and while we were in the car i peeked over at him and he was picking his fingers while driving. he was actually driving with his elbows just so he could fidget with his fingers. i never noticed it before, he has always fidgeted so i think i never really thought about what he was doing. looking back, he used to always peel the skin from the bottom of his feet or from his fingers. always. he's a very stoic calm man, but constantly picking at himself and shifting his legs. i thought i was the only one, but lo and behold, my dad does it too!

Edited by kitkatt91

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Hi. Most of this stuff I dont do. I have always bitten my fingernails and chewed on them and my cuticles and inside of my cheek and lips but honestly ive never really thought about it. but recently ive been super anxious all the time and have chewed my lipped so bad that its swollen and looks like somebody punched me in the face and ive also started picking my gums until they bleed and sucking the blood off my finger. Those too things together have gotten very painful and make it hard for me too eat so I guess its becoming more of a problem.

Ive never thought I was ocd because im just so messy and unorganized lol but ill admit I know next too nothing about ocd.

I do have hideous scars on my stomach from when I used too cut but I never really thought of myself as a selfharmer because I never considered myself addicted and I ussually did it when my ex was being emotionally abusive and ive barely done it since we broke up. But maybe this is a SI thing.

All I know is it fricken hurts but I really enjoy it anyway and cant stop especially the gum picking.

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Dermatillomania is a disorder that helps relieve anxiety for many
people. Most people with it experience anxiety to some degree. It's very
complex in that it is an impulse control disorder also tied in with
OCD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and personality disorders. It's cyclic
with anxiety because once the anxiety is relieved after a "pick
session", we become more anxious from the aftermath... so we try to fix
that feeling by picking again.


Dermatillomania co-exists with many of these disorders but often it is
"caught" far too late so other symptoms are created because of it. It
can be diagnosed separately instead of only being a symptom of
another... but for some people it is a symptom of another issue. Kind of
the "chicken or egg" question of which came first.

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What are your experiences, Angie?

 

CB is a first person site, and people are encouraged to write about their own personal experiences, rather than generalizing about a condition.

 

I am guessing based on your experiences in your website that you have found some things that helped you.

 

(eta: missed an 's')

Edited by Wooster

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Hah awesome, I'm not alone. I just posted on a Trichotillomania post on pulling hair. I have this one spot on my head that's pretty sore and I've been picking at it for five to six years and recently (for two years or so now), I've been pulling the scabs off this one spot up to the point where I'm bleeding and it's painful but relaxing at the same time. 

 

I also have Dermatophagia (or something like that) where I pick the scab and then eat it. 

 

I don't know. Strange and disgusting, but relaxing.

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Wow I thought for the longest time I was the only one. I don't know anybody personally that has these weird habits but I feel at home strangely while reading all these posts by other people. It's also really embarassing and I have never told anybody about this but I get so frustrated...

I am a picker and an eater. Mostly dandruff but scabs will do as well. I can't control it and I keep telling myself it is disgusting but I can't stop doing it. I am also too embarassed to speak with a doctor about this or seek help.

 

There is something so satisfying about lifting off the dandruff flakes that appear on my scalp. I have a large amount of sharp objects at hand around my room at all times, and I constantly sneak away to the bathroom and stab underneath all my dandruff to lift them. If it makes a scab thats even better, I will probably pick at it later. The larger the dandruff or scab, the more satisfying. Then I must eat all of the dead skin I have collected, I love to chew it. It grosses me out so much...

 

I am also a compulsive nail bitter, I will bite and eat my nails at any given opportunity. Also I am compulsive where anything that shows up on my skin surface I must pick off. However like many people mention they eat pimples or feet skin, I am not at that stage yet and hope to never be... Just want to cry.

I'm a scalp scab picker myself and whenever I feel the scab rip off, I feel a huge satisfaction and then I eat it which makes me feel even better. I laugh and smile to myself while doing this. It's so great :-)

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Just a reminder that Crazy Boards is a pro-treatment, pro-recovery support site for mentally interesting people. We encourage you to work with your real-life providers to find solutions to your challenges.

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I know this is probably a dead post but I want to share my story as well because it's always nice knowing that we aren't alone in our "odd" habits. I have been a finger sucker since I gave up drinking bottles (18 months according to my mom) I am 24 now. I only suck my fingers in my own house and am usually doing it when I am watching tv or on my computer. It is self soothing to me. My boyfriend is accepting of it, although I don't do it around him he appreciates that I suck my fingers instead of smoke cigarettes. I started pulling out my hair when I was 13. Middle school was extremely stressful for me and I also started eating the roots of the hair as well. My parents didn't know what happened and I was too afraid to tell them that this was self inflicting. I had pulled along the natural part of my hair leaving a long bald spot about an inch thick. The doctor was baffled too as I was too afraid to tell him I pulled. They said it was just stress from being in middle school and it will go away. I pulled out all my eyelashes when I was 15 and started wearing fake ones to hide that. I started picking the tops of my legs when I started shaving and would eat the ingrown hairs with the follicles. When I started to get breakouts I was about 16 and that's when I started to eat those too. I used to bite my nails a lot but then I started getting acrylics and now that prevents me from biting. I still pick at the cuticle around it but it's a lot harder to do with the fake nails on. Saying this out loud sounds absolutely disgusting and watching other people do it grosses me out as well. But when I do it it is "normal". None of my anxiety habits has led to me leading anything other than a normal life. I have a full time job, a boyfriend, and a social life. This is my dirty little secret.

I would also like to point out that I can stop myself at any time although I choose not to. I have never been on any anti anxiety pills or anti depressants. I have never been formally diagnosed and have found therapy to be more stressful that helpful.

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Wow.  I pick at my skin but I don't eat it.  Uh, no judgement or anything.

 

I find that when I have acrylic nails, it keeps me from picking (I don't have them now-- too expensive and I am pretty hard on my hands, so I don't bother.)

 

Also, I use lots and lots of lotions and creams.  Moisturized skin makes me less likely to pick.  Plus, it is so much fun to spoil myself with all the fun oils and creams you can buy.  I just bought this amazing cream that is marketed for stretch marks, but it's working great on my picking scars.

 

If you have a problem with picking (and/or ingesting  :huh: ) skin, don't hesitate to bring up the subject with your pdoc or therapist... that is what they are there for.

 

Really?  Wow, you're so great.  Why don't you just give yourself a giant pat on the back for being better than everyone else.  Oh wait, you already did.  Way to be a snarky asshole.

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