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  1. #1

    Chronic skin picking

    So I heard about this condition but I cant find much on it. For years I have constantly picked the skin around my fingers and toes... but I never thought anything about it. Its gotten really bad lately, i pick the cuticles until they bleed and I cant stop! so I went to look it up on Google and I read some things about this thing called chronic skin picking... Does anyone know anything more about this? Or is this some form of OCD...

  2. #2

    Chronic skin picking

    I would say that's almost a form of self-injury behaviour but I guess that depends on why you do it etc. I also googled and found the following, which seem like good sites w/ lots of info:

    (you might try finding this article if it interest you)
    (Suggestions to stop)

    I'm not suggesting it's OCD related etc., I don't really have expertise in that, but it's worth a try checking out some info. Also, go talk to your doctor and see what she/he says. Especially if you end up bleeding! That could end up in infections... or just pain. Could also be anxiety related... my sister did something similar to this for a very long time, and I think a huge part of it was anxiety, but it was more nail biting to that extend. Good luck in trying to find the right info.

  3. #3

    Chronic skin picking

    Hi Aniston,

    It sounds anxiety related. For it to be OCD: you stop a regular task to do this behavior. I have a client who does this and his is more anxiety related. You have heard the saying, "Something is eating at me." This type of behavior is similar only it is "picking at you." If you have a therapist, I would recommend bringing this behavior to their attention. I would recommend learning relaxation techniques to reduce your anxiety level. Once I heard a good saying, "Worry is like a rocking chair, gives you something to do, but you don't get anywhere." You might with your therapist's help try to figure out the triggers to your anxiety. Take care and keep us posted.

  4. #4

    Chronic skin picking

    I constantly pick at my fingers and sometimes chew the loose skin. I never thought of it as a disorder before! I have caused bleeding or rawness when I've gotten carried away with one area, but this doesn't always happen all the time. Right now I just looked at my hands and they look good, but there are always signs of at least a little bit of picking. I just do it constantly though. Not only when I'm nervous or feel anxiety. Even if I'm not really picking, I'm always rubbing my fingers or lightly scratching them. It's weird. It doesn't get in the way of my life or anything - although if I tried to make kimchi I guess I'd have to wear plastic gloves (red pepper powder burns!). It drives my boyfriend crazy though, and other people who are close to me have noticed it as well. My mom tried to stop me from doing it for a long time. My boyfriend will physically hold one of my hands to separate them. We sometimes end up laughing about it, but it does bother him. I also crack my knuckles a lot, but I'm not sure if this is any relation. I'm not too worried about it, but it's interesting as I've now seen skin picking in relation with OCD, body dismorphic disorder and anorexia.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    North American lakes and rivers

    Chronic skin picking

    I bite my nails severely. I never actually thought of bringing it to my therapist's attention; I've done it since I had teeth. Maybe I should - maybe we can do something about it.
    ~ Allow yourself to be the light that the world so desperately needs. ~ Unknown

  6. #6

    Chronic skin picking

    My father always bit his nails and the skin around his fingers too. He's a wonderful person, but he is kind of intense. I wonder if this kind of behaviour could even be genetic or just learned.

  7. #7

    Chronic skin picking

    at first I thought why would there be a genetic factor for nail biting, it seems more like a (compulsive) habit... but who knows, so many things have environmental and biological influences. And considering some people use it when they're stressed, or tend to bite their nails more when stressed or anxious, it would make sense to have some overlap w/ other disorders. So I tried to find some info on this, this is what I could come up w/:

    There are many that now believe that compulsive hair pulling, skin picking, and nail biting form a subgroup of what is becoming known as the Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder Spectrum. OCD has been previously been regarded as only a single disorder. It may in fact represent a range of related disorders, including classic OCD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, Trichotillomania, Onychophagia, Compulsive Skin Picking, Compulsive Nail Biting, and Tourette's Syndrome.
    this is from:

    - Article on nail biting & stress

    - touches on genetic component and nail biting as it emerges in kids... maybe some interesting factors about the family?

  8. #8

    Chronic skin picking

    Repetitive behaviors such as curling your hair around a finger, rocking in a rocking chair, rosiery beads or worry stones as well as any other behaviors (even nail biting) "activates" the release of Serotonin, which helps one relax by lowering anxiety. I had one client who bit her fingernails and I asked her if she could use a worry stone instead. She has been using it since without biting a nail.

  9. #9

    Chronic skin picking

    Good thinking. Biting those worry stones is hard on the teeth... ;o)

  10. #10

    Chronic skin picking

    HEHE! I could just see her biting on a worry stone! LOL! She would get a kick out that!

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