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Guest dork

i've been picking on my arms and chest now for almost four years.

i look so bad. i hate it so much. i hate myself for doing it. if i ever let my skin clear up, ill have scars on my arms and boobies for the rest of my life!

i'm so gross... sorry! :embarassed:

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Guest ladynada

Trich and its sister CSP are classified as impulse control disorders, along with pyromania, compulsive gambling, etc. Most pdocs don't seem to be aware of this fact and treat the disorder as OCD.

I've been put on a pile of meds to try to fix my lifelong trich and CSP, but nothing's worked. Yoga is the thing that's helped me most, actually--probably both the stress relief and the mindfulness aspects. Now I seem to be more aware of times and places where I'm prone to do this stuff and avoid them. Looking in the mirror when I'm sleep deprived? Bad fucking idea. I've dealt with the trich since I was five. I'm 29 now, and mostly put a stop to it when I was 27 and started the yoga. The CSP is still a major problem for me, though. Especially now that I've got The Lamictal Acne.

I've been reading in this book, Mother Nature by Sarah Hrdy, about how baby monkeys separated from their moms pull out their hair. This behavior is also really common among adopted kids, of which I am one. I haven't read this anywhere, but I figure that trich and CSD are simply grooming behaviors run amok. We know that monkeys use grooming as a soothing and social behavior, and that grooming involves stuff like riffling through hair to find bugs and then eating them. Lots of people with trick and CSD eat their booty--boogers, hair, scabs, skin, fingernails, etc. I'm guessing this is a stress response, just like in the baby monkeys. We're stressed out and so we perform these self-soothing behaviors, just like monkeys soothe with social grooming. Yes, I am an amateur evolutionary psychologist. ;)

Interesting that the Adderall seems to quell the urge for some--maybe that's the dopamine making us feel social, pleasure, and reward so we don't have to rely on the CSP for trying to get that stuff.

Who the hell knows. I look like I took a bunch of buckshot in my face. I've got a lot of other problems that indicate I've got a lack of dopamine. Would be nice if I could get an Rx for Adderall to test out my theories.

for pimples, put a little colloidal silver on it when you first feel it coming in, then it wont grow

if too late for that, and you bust it, put some colloidal silver on it to help healing and less scarring, and wet a fold of tissue in hot hot water and press against it

hope this helps

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I get zits on my scalp, well, they're bigger than zits but they puss the same, and I get lots of them. I pick and pop them constantly out of habit. I don't know if it's an obsession/compulsion but I do it alot. So much that they never really heal, I just keep ripping the scab off. It feels SOO good. I never really realized what this was doing to my scalp though. Last night I got out the electric clippers when I was drunk on my meds and shaved my head with a #2 guard. (I'm balding on top and thought mabye it would make the bald spot blend in). To my horror I saw all the scars and scabs on my scalp, it looks REALLY nasty. I've been wearing a stocking cap all day. humm..mabye this should go in the self-injury forum. How can I stop this and get those to heal? Eventually I will lose most of my hair (if genetics have their say) and will probably take to shaving my head since I think it looks sexy. This behavior has to stop though. I thought about bringing it up with my pdoc today, but I figured she would want to add another med or another diagnosis and I just can't handle either right now. Any advice?

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I get zits on my scalp, well, they're bigger than zits but they puss the same, and I get lots of them. I pick and pop them constantly out of habit. I don't know if it's an obsession/compulsion but I do it alot. So much that they never really heal, I just keep ripping the scab off. It feels SOO good. I never really realized what this was doing to my scalp though. Last night I got out the electric clippers when I was drunk on my meds and shaved my head with a #2 guard. (I'm balding on top and thought mabye it would make the bald spot blend in). To my horror I saw all the scars and scabs on my scalp, it looks REALLY nasty. I've been wearing a stocking cap all day. humm..mabye this should go in the self-injury forum. How can I stop this and get those to heal? Eventually I will lose most of my hair (if genetics have their say) and will probably take to shaving my head since I think it looks sexy. This behavior has to stop though. I thought about bringing it up with my pdoc today, but I figured she would want to add another med or another diagnosis and I just can't handle either right now. Any advice?

i don't know what your life entails, so this might be a useless suggestion

but the way i have managed to avoid digging at my scalp is by

1. covering up -- i wear hats or bandanas almost constantly. i am eventually going to try and stop doing this, and it has more that just to do with compulsive picking, but it certainly helps.

2. keeping nails really really trimmed. i mean to the quick and beyond. once i get any sort of nail growing, i start at it.

ps. these things help, but despite it lately i have been at it more -- i think it's higher levels of anxiety these days.

pj

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Guest alisha

Wow. I had no idea there were so many people doing this. I've been a "picker" as long as I can remember, but the last 2 years have been much different. I'll pick my legs, feet, fingers...but mostly my hands & arms. They are so scarred & scabbed that I haven't worn anything without sleeves in public in almost a year. My psychiatrist who has changed my meds multiple times for my GAD has now had me on Zoloft for about 6 months. She seems to think it's an OCD thing for me. But I'm not OC in other ways at all. It's only the CSP for me. My mom & grandfather have told me that my grandmother did it all the time when she was alive. Wow, just looking at my arms right now I counted over 70 little scars at least. It's so bad that my ex-boyfriend once told me that he had a dream one night that I was using my teeth to bite at a piece of skin on his hand. Well, that is something I had done before, but always with his permission first. heh

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Guest spittykitty

There really are people out there suffering the same problem as me? OMG. ;)

Well I've been a picker for so many years I can't remember. I'm 33 now, and my legs look like I must have been hit by shrapnel in a world war. My arms aren't quite so bad, at the moment I'm trying to fast heal a couple of spots with Bio-Oil and have once again given the old 'mozzie bite' excuse. I live in Australia so that excuse actually works well.

I can sit in front of the mirror and scan my face for hours, sometimes I lie in bed at night in the dark and run one hand over the other arm checking for any lumps or bumps to rid my skin of. Sometimes I pick without even realising what I've done until I realise I'm bleeding.

Thankfully I'm reducing the amount of picking, by keeping my wounds moist with antiseptic creams. It's harder to pick when you can't grab at a dry piece of skin/sore etc. My legs are just starting to recover but I honestly doubt I will ever wear a skirt again in this lifetime. I have no scabs on my legs at this moment (HORRAY!) just discoloured scarring. The oil stuff I have is reducing that though.

Even though now I have a name for what I've been doing I'm still shocked that I do this. We all know it's disgusting and gross and we hide our body parts from others so they can't see what we have done to ourselves. Every time I start the skin-scan I have to tell myself NO! That's yuck now stop it! I saw a girl picking her arm on the bus the other day and though feck that's just vomit material that is. What a hypocrit.

Sometimes I hope I will wake up one morning and I won't pick ever again. But since I also have other OC issues I doubt that will ever happen!

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Hooray for this site! I have been picking since I was a small child - the most dramatic episode I can remember was when I was in the fourth grade, age 9, and I took a needle to a blister on my right hand...I was supposed to be going to school for open house, but instead I gouged a huge hole in my hand. It was bleeding, I kept going...

For years, you can tell how I am doing by looking at my hands. When things are "stable" and I am doing well, my hands are manicured. I paint the nails daily. Take care. Other times, like now, the nails are bit to the quick, and all the nails have sores where I have yanked out cuticles - often with force, or torn them out with my teeth. I even pulled off half a nail.

Oh, don't get me started on my face - I compulsively pluck my eyebrows, a habit that must be attended to several times a day. And I am scouring my face, back, and arms for any blemish that I can pop or pluck. When I am stressed, I can do this for long periods of time in the bathroom mirror.

I don't know why comfort is derived from finding out there are others that do this, too, but it has helped me tremendously. I just found this site, but I feel like it is going to do me a lot of good!

DX: depression (Wellbutrin 150SR BID - with the occasional 0.5 xanax for the anxious times)

Self DX: generalized anxiety, OCD, transient panic attacks.... and now dermatillomania

Edited by flrnla

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I don't know if it is my imagination, but since I started Lamictal, my nails grow so fast and thick that I can't resist using them. I pick my scalp and any scab I come across. I love the way the psychs call it "interference with wound healing" and don't bother to mention it to them.

Tommy

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It's amazing to me that there are so many others out there that have this same problem with picking..

My question to all of you is this, have any of you discussed this with ur doc's? what did they say? has anyone been treated specifically for skin picking ?

I also began doing this when I was around 11, right after my dad committed suicide.

Has anyone been given an explanation why anyone would start to do this? I'm 28 years old and for the life of me I can't get any answers about where this urge to pick at my skin comes from or how to stop it or treat it or why it feels good ?

;)

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Jumping in here, yep I'm a notorious skin picker too... it's anxiety for me... If I'm bored... anything makes me pick. My scalp gets the worst of it but mosquito bites, scabs, whiteheads, zits, all of that too... ugh...

Is picking like this enough to give you an OCD diagnosis?

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Guest Ashley

If you saw me you would never know.

I feel like my life and sanity has slipped between my fingers. I have read hundreds of stories about this crazy disease and I know my case is one of the more severe after reading so many. This disease has nearly taken over my life. The crazy thing about it is it cycles. So usually when my life is going really good it doesn't act up as much and my skin will be beautiful and clear. But if I've had alot of stress and anxiety I literally have no control what so ever and take ever ounce of my feelings and put this energy into mutallating my face. No matter how bad I don't want to, no matter how hard I try to make myslef busy with something else there is absolutely nothing I can do stop ME! Im on the computer right this instant because I need help. I never knew that this is a diagnosed disease with a name and all that millions of people suffer from it but once I found out I knew I most definatley had it BAD! Its such a weird and embarassing disease that people that don't have it can not relate at all. They don't get it and they think its almost a laughing matter. But really it's truly not because I feel if not treated it only grows into a enormous problem. I literally will spend 3+ hours standing in the mirror policing my face for anything. Three hours can you imagine????Standing in front of the mirror and picking is the drug. It realeases something I don't know what but it is a trance like state. I have literally spent a whole day picking my face then washing it...picking then washing. I try and make washing my face the end of the picking but it doesn't happen this way. This is a mental health condition that falls in the same category. I had pretty terrible childhood and I don't feel like all mental health problems come back to this but mine clearly does. My parents would get into gruesome fights my whole life. The fight was over when one of them was so severly hurt they had to go to the emegency room. I have a bad phobia of knives becuase they would use them on each other and threathened so many times to use them on thereselves. When my parents would fight I would try and act as a therapist and try so hardly to make them stop. It bothered meso much when my parents would fight. I remeber calling the police, crying, breaking all my barbies apart, when they did fight. Them fighting would put me into a state of trauma where as my brother didn't get involved at all and never even got upset untill it got really really bad.

My dad suffers from is an alcholic and suffers from OCD. My mom suffers from manic depression alot of marijuana smoking and dermotillomania.

Both of them clearly have these problems but go untreated.

With my mom her skin tells the whole story of dermotillomania.She messes with it on a daily basis for several hours and I would always watch her do this when I was young.

I have been severly picking at my face since Thursday. Today is Sunday and I called in sick to work because I look so ugly and feel so shitty about myself that there is no way I could face anyone. I recently moved in with my Boyfriend. We spend all time together he is my sanity but does not know this so please don't tell him that I should be placed in a State Mental Hospital.;) He has no idea about my condition because I could not ever imagine telling him. He is just such a simple person and I can not see him understanding because it is such a complex disease. Anyways.... he went out of town on Thursday camping with all of his buddies. That was day 1 of face mutitlation. Day 2 was far worse DAY 3 even worse, and TODAY day 4 i really just want to go to sleep and never wake up. My boyfriend comes home today..>Could be any minute I'm on my toes writing this because I would never want him to read. My face us tore up, nothing could make it better besides time and when he see's me he probally will secretly wonder what happened to my skin in 4 days becuase it was perfect when he left. Also the weird thing about this is I only do it to one side of my face. The right side. So the left half of my face is normal and the right side is so picked and mutaled it makes me hate myseld alltogether. How weird huh??? ONLY ONE SIDE Like it shows in 50% becuase I'm 50% normal and 50% crazy status. Allright well I'm going to get back to my terrible day but if you do have this problem you should really get help. I have an appointment with a doctor on Friday who will hopefully help me stop destroying my face.

TOODLES

ASHLEY

P.S. you might get this picture in your head that I do this because I suffer from ACNE. The truth is I don't suffer from acne. I pick at nothing and make acne,

There is a big difference

I'm going crazy!:)

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I never knew there was an actual name for it!

I also thought i was the only one.... ;)

I tend to vary where and what i pick so i can try and give myself time to heal.

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I do this to my scalp. It any given time my hair is in various stages of regrowth. I also get a a lot of rashes and other annoying skin problems. . for me it is a way to destroy anything beautiful about myself, a symptom of very low self esteem.

Edited by River_

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Guest pick pick pick

If you watch Jane Goodall specials you see the chimps or gorillas sitting together for hours peacefully picking at each other and eating the proceeds. We're not all crazy, we're just trying to relax in a normal, healthy, higher-primate way. It's just that it's become way declasse to pick scabs and lice off your friends and eat them. Now you have to pick yourself, instead, which is totally unsatisfying and leads to these excesses.

I used to pick my heels bloody, which sucked because my socks were always getting bloodstains and it made it hard to walk. What stopped that was getting one of those foot rasps with the cheese-grater on one side and the sandpaper on the other. If I could make the heel smooth enough, I could eliminate the trigger for my lizard brain and it would allow me to quit picking. Finally they healed over and now I'll go years without picking. I'll still have an outbreak now and then, but really: they're years apart, and they're mild and not distressing. I've had other fads, like cuticle chewing and picking out and tweezing ingrown hairs. I had a boyfriend who got terrible razor rash and I used to go into a coma of bliss picking and tweezing... good times. Then he switched to Magic Shave and the bloom was off the rose.

I just have a few tips:

1. you're not crazy, you just have a lot of residual gorilla brain

2. if possible, make the affected area smooth (like with my rasp)

3. if you can't smooth it out, cover it up (whenever I have an outbreak of thumb shredding, I put bandaids over the thumbs. I pick the bandaid instead of the thumb and it satisfies the lizard brain while the thumb heals)

4. if you can't do 2 or 3, distract! Distract! Do something physical--whole body if possible, like exercise, but at least something that occupies the hands.

5. develop the grooming skills into a profession! Electrolysist? Waxer or threader?

6. if there's somebody else around to touch, go touch them--a big part of this is thwarted sociability. We weren't made for this glossy, odorless, shiny perfect orderly LONELY world we've made for ourselves.

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I don't want to post a really long reply, especially since I'm new here. I read the entire the thread and can relate to everyone, especially those mentioning Trichotillomania in addition to CSP. It's been suggested before, but http://www.trich.org/index.asp does seem to be the one of the most currently active and comprehensive sites as well as http://www.trichotillomania.co.uk/index.html for both disorders.

Everyone's situation and symptoms seem to be so similar, regardless of their lifestyle otherwise. I am wondering what successful experience others have had with treatment such as group involvement and medication? (Saw some were trying Lamictal in particular). What about mindfulness and meditation? How about incorporating aromatherapy in with Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Habit Reversal- Stimulus Control- as Dr. Fred Penzel often discusses, if anyone is familiar with his books and articles? Hypnotherapy and/or Yoga? Etc. Anyway, I'm trying to keep this brief, but it would be nice, and interesting, to hear more from everyone.

I reread that and figure it might be considerate to mention something quick about myself. I have been diagnosed with Trichotillomania since I was 10 and deal with CSP now as well. I feel like both are more symptoms of a general internal regulation dysfunction rather than individual disorders. But anyway, enough about me, and I look forward to talking more with everyone else!

Edited by Amarat

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Ok I have question here. CPS? How is that different than picking because of anxiety. In times of great stress and anxiety I will take to the bathroom and pick pick away. Blemishes, way-ward hairs, bumps, scabs, flaky skin.. etc. I started to actually pay attention to my picking behavior, during my first marriage my husband said that my face would break out when I was lying (lo and behold more like broke out cause of stress of abusive husband)

So than it got me to thinking more about this. I used to chew my nails past the quick as a kid, when my parents painted my nails with that nasty stuff, I turned to my toenails (washed my feet first) I would get in grown toenails and do self-surgery to relieve the pressure. I would also rip the heck out of hang nails. All anxiety related, even back then, what does a child have to be anxious about? I now realize it has to be brain wiring because I had a good childhood.

I also picked at other things too, peeling paint, peeling desk, boyfriends backs, my kids blemishes (of course none of them will let me *pop* their zits... the pain of denial!!!!!) And of course my 19yo son has had some really good ones, that i am just dying to get my hands on. He doesn't let me at them but does let his girlfriend..grrrrrrr ;)

I wonder if you get get jobs as professional pickers?? Like at salons or dermatalogists??

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I wonder if you get get jobs as professional pickers?? Like at salons or dermatalogists??

I am a cosmetologist, and they have 'facial machines' that use suction to clean out the pores...that is as close as you get to a professional picker, lol, w/o a medical degree of some sort anyways!

and I am joining the ranks, I pick, mostly at my scalp...it seems to get worse w/ more stress..how long I have been doing it, I am not sure...

also pick at my acne, face, chest, arms..it is all fair game..

I have gotten my acne under control and it has REALLY helped w/ the picking...

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OMG!! I also thought I was the only one who did this...been a toe-skin picker since childhood. I used to also chew on the skin of my toes too. My mom says that when I was little, I used to love to coat my hands with Elmer's glue, let it dry, and then spend hours peeling it off.

Once I got a really bad sunburn and when it faded and my skin was peeling, pretty much all over, I was in heaven...was disappointed when everything healed up.

I will pick the skin of my toes until they bleed. A couple years ago I started scratching my head, at first because I had itchy dandruff, then I noticed some scabs and blood, and it was like I couldn't leaven them alone. My hair was falling out anway because it was about 6 months after I had given birth, and that's usually when my hair starts to fall out. When I picked the scabs sometimes hair would be in the scab too. Anyway, I noticed at one point there was this funny-feeling patch on my scalp and I looked in the mirror- I had scratched a couple of bald spots into my head! I was so mortified and grossed out (not sure why).

I keep trying to leave my toes and head alone, but it's hard. I keep thinking maybe I should take up something like knitting to keep my hands occupied. I especially don't want to have a scabby head, because I am doing some local theater soon and I may end up doing something with my hair, like dying it or wearing a wig, but I don't want someone else noticing the scabs.

I feel like a freak that I do this! And it's been all my life! So does this mean that I've had an "impulse control problem" all my life and maybe I have some component of OCD as well as all the other stuff?!

I'm going to see a new psychiatrist in a couple weeks to monitor my meds, should I bring this up?

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Hey Galore,

I would mention it to the dr. I finally did and that was how they determined that it was OCD. Of course I am not sure the difference between that and anxiety unless one brings on the other. Last visit we didn't get much into it.

I have done a couple of things to "trick" myself out of picking. At night I wash my face with the light off (got little night light) or I take a timer with me and give myself a limit. (doesn't always work but keeps me aware)

I feel so bad when the kids were babies, they would get those little calcium deposits or baby acne, I would try sooo hard to not pick them. :cussing: I am such a bad mommy. Now some of the kids are teens and OMG I find I am making deals with them to pop the zits ;) Out of all my kids only one might potentially be a picker and would allowed to be picked, my luck he will probably have the clearest complexion on the planet :)

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Guest Shortstuff

I just wanted to say that this board has been an amazing read for me. I had no idea there was a name for this or that others do the same type of thing. I'm just blown away by it.

I'm 28 and have been a picker since I was a little girl. I've ran into a few pictures of me at age 5 and I'm actually picking my fingers in the pictures..... My parents always just brushed it off as a bad habit. I can remember them trying all sorts of things to make me stop, some not so nice. I remember a couple times them putting black pepper on my fingers to try and keep me from putting them in my mouth (i pick and use my teeth) to no avail. I pick around the nails and on the backs of my thumbs, as well as the bottom of my feet. Most times I don't even notice I am doing it. Sometimes I'll be watching a movie or reading something online and I'll be almost in a trance while doing it. I've wasted hours on it from time to time.

I don't see a therapist at all, though since discovering this had a name yesturday I'm giving it some good thought. I have a lot of other problems, pretty sure I am agoraphobic, I hate going outside alone, getting to work can be a nightmare and my attendance there is not good. I have huge issues with social anxiety, dropped out of high school because of it, avoid going places and turn down requests to go out with friends and family etc. I really hate things with a lot of people, concerts, meetings at work etc. If I am asked a question I go beet red, stammer and my stomach rolls, so I avoid most of these types of things most of the time. I probably have depression, I sleep way too much, am fairly lethargic, can't even get myself to do my chores a lot of the time. Can't drive either, I wish I could, but I get too nervous and anxious and can't concentrate and think well. I could go on but I won't.

I did email a therapist that was in my work network for insurance after reading all that was posted in this thread. He got back to me and I'll call through my insurance this morning and see what happens next. I really don't want to go but what can I do? Time just keeps on rolling by and her I am, no closer to my career dreams at all and stuck inside all the time. It's not a great way to live.

Thanks for all the posts and info everyone has put up on here, it went such a long way to bolster me up into making that phone call, you have no idea. It's nice to know I'm not alone with it.

-Shorty

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