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Scratching My Scalp , Can't Stop

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Guest amanda

Omg i sumtimes pick during the day but at nite is when its real bad whe im in bed.. ive aways been a picker ill pick at anything on my body but damn my head hurts but i just cant stop

Ha, this board is awesome. I was just looking to see where to post this myself.

I have always had some scalp acne...transitory, and if I keep my hair short AND don't pick at it, it clears up. Tar shampoo helps alot to clear the bacteria and speed healing.

However, the obsessiveness comes when I pick at it. The picking is periodic, and the behavior is not unlike a monkey grooming: restlessly running fingers through every millimeter of my scalp, looking for zits or scabs, or any blemish or irregularity, really. Then picking at it or prodding, etc.

Up until this week, it's never been that severe. Just periodic behavior that lapsed on it's own. Now I'm on Cymbalta...first week. The Cymbalta interferes with my sleep. So in my sleepy but agitated state, I am destroying my scalp. Long periods in bed just molesting my poor head. I do it in the day too, but it's worst at night. My hair is now too long, perpetuating the cycle and also lowering my self-esteem. I'm afraid to do my usual head shaving routine at home, for fear of exposing the damage. I'm afraid to go to the barber because of the shame.

Well, pdoc today. It's not as worrisome as I'm probably sounding here, but I just wanted to share my experience. It's comforting to know you are not the only one.

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Tea tree oil helped me a lot. I was using it as a natural pesticide for the bugs that I didn't really have on my head at the time, but it *did* reduce the itching better than any steroid.

I did the finger picking starting around 4 years old, progressed to scalp picking in adolescence.

It reached OCD proportions in conjunction with a departure from the reality that most people commonly enjoy. I had bloody, crusty bald spots the size of my fist all over my head. My dermatologist called it "alopecia areata", which meant I didn't have hair and she didn't know why. I was also flirting with anorexia simultaneously, with my weight hanging out between 95-100 lbs, so that could have been a factor. Another dermatologist diagnosed me with lupus. I didn't care what it was, I just wanted to stop scratching.

Put knowledge in the hands of a crazy person and one has trouble. I was totally convinced that the itching was from bugs, and having been a double major (English/Chemistry), I had a decent microscope from biology. So after tons of staring at my hair roots under the microscope looking for novel creepy crawlies, I *did* find something that was making me itch, all right.... ringworm (which is a FUNGUS, not a buggie).

TIPS FOR DEALING WITH COMPULSIVE SCRATCHING:

(learned the hard way):

1. Wash whatever hair you have left with tea tree oil shampoo. If you have a nice doctor, you might also try prescription strength ketoconazole on alternating days.

2. Use straight tea tree oil on the scalp. The sting takes away the itch.

3. Cut your nails and your hair short. With shorter hair, the new growth won't look so out of place.

(daughter number middle has the same issue, and when her hair grew back, it formed a tight ringlet on the back of her head, like a curly tail. The rest of her hair was waist length. We named the new growth "Fluffy", and he became a family member. I was almost sad to see him grow out).

4. Wear a bandana, tying the top triangular part to the knot at the nape. This protects the bald spot from sun as well as your scratching.

5. A light cotton hat is okay, too, if you don't take it on and off.

6. Don't let cats sleep on your head. They are notorious carriers of ringworm.

TIPS FOR KNOWING YOU HAVE RINGWORM:

1. You itch

2. You have scaly circles of skin with sort of soggy middles (if on your scalp).

3. Your doctor tells you so

Remember that I'm not a doctor, and my experience may vary from yours. Stress definitely seems to be a trigger in the whole scalp scratching, nail biting, skin picking land of bloody flakies.

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I did that when I had lice in grade school. I mean, I really scratched the hell out of my scalp, and then, whatever scabs would form, I would pick those, eventually my hairline, and beyond, underneath my hair, was this huge bloody mass of scabs and blood from the picking. I couldn't stop doing it. My parents yelled at me for it, but I didn't stop. I never lost any hair really though, so that's good, maybe a little around the hairline. I would pick out hairs a lot with scabs on them, but not to the point that there were actual bald spots, that I can recall.

now I just pick my skin a lot, but not severely, most of the time. Sometimes it can get pretty bad, but I'd probably do the same to this day if I had scabs around my hairline again. I'm bad about picking, but not the worst.

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Damn, I do this too... Can't seem to stop it. It started when I was on Nardil. I thought I was OCD when I was on that crap. I started doing all kinds of weird things.

-Tom

I think I'm worse about picking at shit on my body on certain meds too. It was REALLY bad on Effexor and now it's getting bad again on Cymbalta. This could e my imagination, but it's weird that they are both SNRI's and I've had this shit worsen on BOTH of them.

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Guest girlgrower

Look into your hormonal levels. I've had this since childhood, had "craddle cap" as an infant, same symptoms, and no relief. I know to expect it to come during certain times of my menstrual cycle. It's been a faithful guide as to my fertile days versus non-fertile days. It is a pain literally to deal with, but I've learned to follow it's signs and see it as a positive in my life. Hoping this helps...

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Guest MVM

So i was reading this board and I can completely relate. I was diagnosed with trichnotillamania when i was 12 yrs old. Im now 24 and still suffering from it. But the key cause of my hair pulling is because of this mental itch that i get. I know it must be mental because the more i scratch the better it feels. This itch has only gotten worse since i began taking Effexor XR about 4 yrs ago. Im begining to think that the medicine is causing some chemical in my brain to trigger an itch so that i can scratch it. The stronger the itch, the harder i scratch, the better i feel...except as soon as im done scratching then the itch returns! There are times I swear i could probably give myself an orgasm by simply scratching the crown of my head.

I dont know how to stop this cycle. Im currently in the process of getting off my medication and possibly trying something new. For the past 2 days ive stayed up all night scratching this itch continuously because it feels so amazing and itches so bad. If anybody has any ideas about my problem please email me Michellevmarino@yahoo.com

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Guest lisa

I am 46 years old, I have picked at my scalp since in my 30s, I stop for awhile then start back up. I do it when watching tv, sleeping anytime not sure why but its so soar sometimes shampoo and even just water in the shower hurts. Now where my part is, is almost bald I know better, but still do it, I only go to one person to cut my hair its so embarrassing. Dont color your hair its a killer. I think Im just thinking of things thats depressing and scratch. Im on meds for depression, but now its always something. I did stop for one month when I had my nails done, they were long I would just rub them together, also when I would try and scratch my head I really didnt feel anything like a sore or anything, so guess I didnt get the pleasure out of it. Good luck to all the scratchers theres a reason not sure.

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Guest momo

So i was reading this board and I can completely relate. I was diagnosed with trichnotillamania when i was 12 yrs old. Im now 24 and still suffering from it. But the key cause of my hair pulling is because of this mental itch that i get. I know it must be mental because the more i scratch the better it feels. This itch has only gotten worse since i began taking Effexor XR about 4 yrs ago. Im begining to think that the medicine is causing some chemical in my brain to trigger an itch so that i can scratch it. The stronger the itch, the harder i scratch, the better i feel...except as soon as im done scratching then the itch returns! There are times I swear i could probably give myself an orgasm by simply scratching the crown of my head.

I dont know how to stop this cycle. Im currently in the process of getting off my medication and possibly trying something new. For the past 2 days ive stayed up all night scratching this itch continuously because it feels so amazing and itches so bad. If anybody has any ideas about my problem please email me Michellevmarino@yahoo.com

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Guest momo

i have a scrating obsession, and can't seem to stop, it's debilitating, i'm glad to know i'm not the only one.

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