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A call to my fellow friends with Excoriation Disorder (Dermatillomania)


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(background)I was diagnosed with Excoriation disorder a few months ago, but I've definitely had it for 4-6 years. Mine is currently and always has been out of control. My disorder has not only affected my social life but also my career and my education. Many many many people (bosses even professors) have asked me what the hell is wrong with my legs (legs are scared for life by this). My counselor is basically clueless on how to help me, I have no outlet, I have no one who understands what it's like. I feel as if its an impulse I cannot control. I cannot make myself stop. Please, please if you can offer me and advice it would help. I am tired of going through this alone. I've never talked to anyone else with this disorder and I also want to know other experiences people have had with it. 

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I have very mild issues with this but know what it's like to not be able to stop. I treat it as a compulsion where I force myself to not do it even if it produces anxiety and torment. Fail sometimes success sometimes. However that's basically the approach I take to all OCD compulsions. But I've been at this compulsion control thing for 6 years so it's a bit easier now that it was at the beginning. Still hard during stressful times though. 

 

Ah yes, when I give into it and I'm really into it I try to remember the horrible things of staph infection and all the diseases and infections that could possibly result from an open wound (even if 99% of them aren't possible). The dirt in my nails. The germs in the air. Sometimes that's enough to get me to stop because that just opens an opportunity for more freak outs that are related to my physical health. Don't want to land in the ER for some a few skin picking wounds because I'm convinced my arm is going to fall off or that somehow bacteria entered and now I'm dying. 

Edited by iaawal
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I moved this to the OCD board because that's where this topic has always ended up in the past.  

I realize more recent research has shown this is not as closely linked to OCD as was once thought but for the sake of people searching for old posts I think it's best to keep everything in one place.

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I moved this to the OCD board because that's where this topic has always ended up in the past.  

I realize more recent research has shown this is not as closely linked to OCD as was once thought but for the sake of people searching for old posts I think it's best to keep everything in one place.

 

VE, is it shown to be linked to anything any more?  my google-fu is lacking.  i got some stuff that said it may be more aligned with addictions/substance abuse.

 

(background)I was diagnosed with Excoriation disorder a few months ago, but I've definitely had it for 4-6 years. Mine is currently and always has been out of control. My disorder has not only affected my social life but also my career and my education. Many many many people (bosses even professors) have asked me what the hell is wrong with my legs (legs are scared for life by this). My counselor is basically clueless on how to help me, I have no outlet, I have no one who understands what it's like. I feel as if its an impulse I cannot control. I cannot make myself stop. Please, please if you can offer me and advice it would help. I am tired of going through this alone. I've never talked to anyone else with this disorder and I also want to know other experiences people have had with it. 

 

Amberuss, i'm sorry you're dealing with this.  tangential rant, why do people, like your bosses and prof, have to be so fucking insensitive, nosy, and rude?  i suppose they're really just concerned, or i hope so, but how people express it... it can feel awfully judgmental. and still none of their business.

 

i've picked my skin since i was a child, and i don't know how it started. i'm convinced some of it was stress/trauma.   :Trigger:  :Trigger:  usually it was an unconscious act, not done with intent to hurt myself, but sometimes i still felt a wave of relief when washing away the blood, even while i also felt great shame at having disfigured myself :Trigger:  :Trigger:   i still pick my skin, though i have become more mindful of when i am about to/am doing it and can sometimes just re-direct myself away from doing it. it's still a compulsion, when stressed, bored, whenever i am alone.  it has wrecked parts of my life.  i can't count the number of times i have disfigured myself again and won't go out (to shop for food, socially, anything) until i've healed, and yes, there are still the scars. that rude people still ask about.

 

i haven't found a therapist who could help me, yet.  one DBT therapist, in twice weekly sessions, got me to stop, for a few weeks, by having me do a chain analysis with them in the next therapy session whenever i had picked my skin.  this tdoc treated it like it was deliberate self-harm when it wasn't, and while it was nice to have the little mental flag/hurdle of "Dr. D will have me waste another therapy session with another goddamn chain analysis" to kind of hang on to and dissuade me when i remembered, ultimately i didn't feel like Dr D was treating much of anything, and i quit. maybe if i had kept going? clearly i was capable of being annoyed into not-picking, for a short period of time, which tells me there's some hope somewhere in here.

 

no, though i've relapsed since, i'm not giving up hope; a simple google and read through web MD led me to the trichotillomania learning center's listing for therapists in the USA (few in Canada and Mexico too) who are trained in treating body-focused repetitive behaviors.  maybe someone is near you?

 

i do sympathize.  and i know there are lots of us here on CB.  there's more than one giant dermatillomania thread in the OCD forums.  i hope you can find company, support, and healing.

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  • 1 month later...

I've had dermatillomania for as long as I can remember, starting out as picking and scratching my eczema to death as a child. I no longer have eczema, but still find myself picking. It goes through phases of being horrendous and phases of being slightly bearable but it's always been a problem. I get cuts or blisters that take weeks to heal because I keep picking at them, and my face is all scared because I pick at spots. I can imagine what it's like for you, as it's probably very similar to my own suffering.

 

I find that things like henna tattoos or PVA glue work a charm as you can pick it all off again. One thing that really helped was my girlfriend saying "you need to try not to pick at your hands because one day there's gonna be a ring on there". Something about that stuck in my mind and I find the compulsions a little less intense.

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