• Quote of the Day
    "The voice of negativity says, 'Get real'. The voice of possibility says 'Get started'."
    Donna Satchell, posted by littlerabbit

krcaddis

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scabs

I appreciate the feedback. From his site and several others the closest common diagnosis is that I have a OCD. I'm going to start searching threads along behavior modifications to that "condition". Consciousness of the problem/effects, attentiveness and intentionally stopping does not help. I pick until it hurts. The origin of the scabs dates to miniscule injuries or pimples on my scalp that I never seem to be able to let the natural course to heal. In the course of the past 5 years of the life of this behavior, no new sites get to heal, so what started as one tiny pinhead size clear"scab' - I think maybe a lymph rather than blood based scab, like a grain of fine salt, eventually gets to be a 1/4 " diameter skin cell and a bit of blood. the compulsion to scratch begins with a sensation at the location, then I seem unable to resist exploring the my scalp for other site.

If anyone has any success in addressing this sort of behavior I'd like to know. What hasn't helped me may help someone else.

I appreciate the contact & information over the time I've been a member.

Krcaddis...
 

prayerbear

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Aug 3, 2005
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I'm a scab picker too!

Sarah, I am soo relieved that I am not the only one who does this! I have a problem with seeing patches of dead skin(dandruff) and I get kind of a rush out of scraping it and watching the dandruff fall! I also peek at it on my fingernails and end up with scabs. I have scabs and I pisk at them constantly. To me, its a form of picking on myself, as a result of inner critical thoughts that keep it going! This drives my mom crazy!

Also, if I see patches of dandruff on my moms head, I have this overwhelming urge to scrape it up just to watch the dandruff fall! She won't let me though.

I avoid men's heads because I really think they have "cooties" I am 32 if a man in front of me scratches his head, I am thinking "Cooties falling - DODGE!"

She says I am scratching my 'glump" I have shoulder length hair and I will scratch under layers to find dandruff.

Bye for now,

miss clean
 

lammers1980

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Oct 15, 2004
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I too, must admit that I have this problem. I tend to still get a lot of pimples on my scalp, and they tend to itch. I often find myself scratching my scalp. I don't mean to, but sometimes I hit one and it results in scabbing. My wife hates it when I do it, but I can't help it. It seems, I especially scratch a lot when I watch tv. I don't mean to pick scabs, it just happens.
 

fastpitch

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picking scalp

When i was a little kid, i used to pick at scabs on my arms. it grosses me out, so i dont know why i did it. i look back now, and think it was stress since my parents were getting divorced. i always wore long sleeves, from like 1st grade to 5th grade. my mom took me to a dermatologist and i got special lotion with tons of vitamin e. it went away a little bit, then i guess i grew out of it. then, in high school, i started picking at my scalp. it was the same at my arms when i was little, except on my head...it was really hard to stop, and took me a long time. i have really thick shoulder length hair, so i didnt want to put any spray or lotion on it. what i used was head and shoulders before my regular shampoo. the head and shoulders shampoo quickly helped my scabs to heal, and as long as i could go a couple days without picking they would disappear...its gone now, but i definitely think its caused by stress. and i always did it subconsciously. i dont have any of it anymore, but sometimes i find myself scratching and have to quickly find something else to keep my hands busy.
 

prayerbear

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miss clean...also prayerbear
I am still struggling with scab peeling and the overwhelming temptation. Has anyone else conquered this?
 

ssbann

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I didn't read any of these other posts (which is probably a bad idea) but I can most definitely relate to your title and description.

When I was younger I picked obsessively at scabs on my head to the point that the hair just wasn't in certain spots anymore. The scabs first started from a game I played at a birthday party that consisted of smashing flour-filled eggs on eachothers' heads. This broke the skin, caused a small scab, and after I found that it just got bigger and bigger. Probably an inch and a half space on the very top of my head and then a couple of other spots around my ears and the bottom of my neck that I developed later just from scratching really hard on the same spot when the scabs from before couldn't be picked. Its gross, I know, but it was satisfying at the time and I didn't know I was even doing it more often than not.

Eventually I stopped, and assumed I just grew out of it. Then, by chance, I read about how ritalin and some other ADD medications can cause this behavior--most especially if you are being over-medicated. I can't remember where I read this, just that it was the right explination for my case. When I stopped the ADD medication completely, I stopped picking the scabs. I also gained the normal weight a girl my age should have already had and generally felt better.

Basically, I was over-medicated and it resulted in OCD-like behaviors.

I'm sure someone already mentioned this, but I just wanted you to know that the SAME EXACT thing happened to me. Try cutting your fingernails so short that picking just isn't an option, too, if what I said didn't hit home in some way. Like I said, I stopped around the time that I quit using the ADD medication I was prescribed.

Oh yeah! (Sorry, I keep thinking of things) I had a friend on a volleyball team in highschool who had scabs on her head she would pick and she took medicine for anxiety or OCD or something to keep from doing it.

Thats all I have.

Good luck, love!
 

NicNak

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Just to add.

No one should decrease their medications without first consulting their prescribing doctor. Only their doctor can deturmine of it is safe for the individual to lower their dosage or stop taking medications.

PrayerBear, have you spoken to your Therapist, Psychologist or Psychiatrist regarding the picking? If not, that would be the best place to start.

I use to pick as well and eventually just stopped. Not sure why or how. There was no change in meds etc. Maybe just a change in stress levels, but I am unsure.
 
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thanks for posting this on line as i too find myself wth this problem and know now it is just probably due to anxiety and stress im under thanks for ideas to stopping it
 

SueW

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Hi

I too am a picker generally. I do it especially when I am stressed. I have been picker (scratched bit my nails and fingers and sometimes scalp) for over 40 years.
I am trying hypnotherapy this week. Will let you know how I get on.

Sue
 

SueW

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Hi All,

Just here to let you know how I went on with my hypnotherapy for my nail-biting/picking.

Well, I guess in a nutshell it has worked but it has taken some conscious effort from me. This is how it went...

Firstly, my hypnotherapist came to my house which was really good as I felt more relaxed from the start. For the first half hour or so we talked about when and where I bite/chew my fingers and I pretty much came to the conclusion that I do it especially when I am stressed. What also came up for me was that I especially did it when I wasn't sure what to do in a situation. It kind of feels like I regress back to childhood whenever I do / did it. This alone helped me become more aware of my nail biting and chewing.

Re hynotherapy. My therapists asked me to close my eyes and relax in my chair which I did. After talking me through some relaxation exercises I remember feeling quite relaxed and content. I also want to stress that I do remember the experience and that it was nothing like how hypnotherapy is often portrayed in the movies and the media generally. I recall my therapist 'speaking' to my unconscious saying that I did not need to do this anymore and that I could cope without biting and chewing and that I could now 'stop'.

That is essentially it and it has been a week since this session. The outcome of this is that I am now more consciously aware of my hands and the compulsion to pick and chew. The compulsion to pick or chew is immediately accompanied by the compulsion to stop and the result is much less picking and chewing. However, time will tell and I will keep you posted.

I would also say that, in my experience, it is not hypnotherapy by itself that is helping but more a combination of talking about it and hypnotherapy together. Please also be aware that hypnotherapy is not magic or mystical but felt (for me) a natural form of therapy.

I hope this helps those in a similar position.

Best wishes


Sue
 

justhere

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me too! for 2 years. i have even had infected *boils* of all things, on my scalp and had to seek medical care. but the problem is the compulsive scratching and picking. treating the symptoms isnt the answer, but helps temporarily. i have tried so many over the counter treatments.

It makes sense, but what can I/we do instead of these compulsive habits? I honestly dont know. any suggestions?
 

Retired

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justhere said:
infected *boils* ....., on my scalp

Were the infections due to the picking, or were you picking and scratching because of the scalp infection?

A dermatologist may be able to help witht he scalp infection. Sometimes the hair follicles become infected and respond to antibiotic treatment along with medicated scalp washes.

What kind of medical treatment were you given and what was the outcome?
 

Jazzey

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Hi Justthere,

I did a bit of research because I was unsure. I was under the impression that cbt was a method of helping the patient with compulsive behaviours. Here's what I came up with:

Dermatillomania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Compulsive scalp picking - WrongDiagnosis.com
Scalp Picking

After reading what you've posted about trying various medications, I'm wondering if it wouldn't be worthwhile for you to seek out a psychologist to help you with CBT techniques to lower the compulsion.
 

justhere

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i am a chronic scalp-scratcher ever since i was fired from a full time job and got insomnia, two years ago. yes some got infected, and now led to boils and i seem to get new ones every month i have a doctor's appointent on monday. i went to a dermatologist, though i have insurance, the prescribed lotion is not covered and would have cost me $110.00. i called and asked for a lesser expensive lotion to be prescribed by the doctor, that one was $85.00 out of pocket, needless to say, I opted for over the counter creams.
 

Retired

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You need to find a way to get the infections under control, and then deal with the scratching.

What were the prescriptions ordered by the dermatologist? Did you tell the dermatologist that cost was an issue so other options could be considered?

Have you tried daily hair and scalp washing, using a non fragrant shampoo or a bar soap such as Ivory? In addition to the shampoo wash, you might try the over the counter antibacterial scalp wash called Tersaseptic following the shampoo wash.
 

justhere

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thank you to those who read my posts and replied. I went back to my primary care physician who prescribed an ointment that I will apply topically should I get skin infections [which I probably will] and I was cultured for MRSA. This ointment is used for staph and MRSA.
I am going to therapy and working on CBT worksheets.:2thumbs:
 

Pheonix

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Nov 11, 2008
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I can somewhat relate to this problem. For the last year I dig and scratch the hard skin off my heels and feet. Sometimes so bad it was sore to walk or my heel bled. Same with my fingers and cuticles, I nibble and pick obsessively and on occasion I have over done it and had to put a plaster in them. Its like I am in a trance, immune to pain, until hours or the morning after and its sore like hell. It drives my hubby nuts, so I have learned to do it when he is not there. Its like I have always got to have my hands moving or the tension builds inside. I have had previous compulsions to self harm before (cutting) but that was several years ago and before that a few times, back to the age of 12. I am 48 now. I take 100mg of Zoloft but it has no affect on that particular problem although it great for depression. I mentioned it to my psychiatrist last visit and she suggested getting one of those stress balls that you squeeze for now. As well as the stress ball (which I still have to find one) I have joined the gym again in the hope that it will help. I hope you can find something that will help you.
 
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There is some good info, as well as a number of people dealing with similar problems. I not yet allowed to post links (I tried). If you Google the names, you will find the info below.

There is a good overview go to OC Foundation.

If you are interested in mental health providers with specialized training/experience, go to Trichotillomania Learning Center.

While meds are helpful to many (to varying degrees), it is generally a mistake to look for the meds to do it all.

Lastly, you will find a number of references if you Google "compulsive skin picking" or similar terms.

Best wishes to all.

Mike Miller, PhD
 
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