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Author Topic: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?  (Read 763 times)

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Offline dog

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Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« on: July 11, 2013, 10:07:53 PM »
Even making this topic is really difficult for me. Do I even belong here? Is this serious enough?

Hello. My name is dog. I have three fairly large scabs on my face right now. Scars all over my forehead, arms, and legs. Almost all of them are from digging at every bump and imperfection on my body. I can't stop. I have tried so, so many times. Yet every time I notice a new pimple on my face or bump on my arm, even when my lips are chapped... I feel it. This tightness, anxiety gripping my stomach, my chest. Lodging in my throat. I know it's there. I reach up and touch it, my imperfection. Over and over again. And over and over again I stop myself. Don't pick. Don't scratch. Stop, please. To no avail. And once it's open I dig until I know it won't come back. Anxiety's grip loosens and melts into shame. Another scab to hide under my bangs. Or another scab to make me uglier. Or another scar. My mother looks at me with pity. My father looks at me with disgust and disappointment and I wish I never told them. But other than you now, they are the only ones who know. Not that they know all that I have told you.

I have hated or disliked myself for as long as I can remember. This habit, this addiction makes it worse. I am very ashamed of it and I do not know how to stop.
I am done spending hours in front of the bathroom mirror.
I am done hiding in my room with a tissue pressed to my face to stop the bleeding.
I am done hating my reflection.

Or at least I want to be.
Can anyone help me?
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Offline Cheesus

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Re: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 06:14:22 AM »
Yes!

I believe this is a condition known as dermatillomania. It absolutely belongs here (or perhaps on the OCD board - but that doesn't really matter).

First I think you need to get some help for your low mood. It is important that you talk to your GP. Moreover, I think it would be very beneficial for you to receive some sort of regular talking therapy with a qualified therapist.

Second, I believe I read somewhere once that there is a very effective treatment for breaking habits such as dermatillomania known as Habit Reversal Therapy. This is part of something called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I am by no means an expert on this, so it is advisable to get some independent advice from a specialist. Your GP would be a good first port of call. Alternatively, there are a number of organisations online that can provide information on proper therapies to treat and ways to get help.

Keep in mind, for your comfort, that this is absolutely treatable. It may take some work, but you have taken the first major step and that in itself is a real achievement. You are now on the path towards recovery. Congratulations!!

Best of luck
Cheesus
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Offline dog

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Re: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2013, 08:01:28 PM »
Wow thank you so much for responding, Cheesus!

Looking dermatillomania up was a real surprise- I fit the symptoms entirely, and the first picture on Wikipedia... That man's sores are very familiar to me, though not as extensive on my own body.

Actually, I do see a psychologist every other week. I started after I had something like a mental/nervous breakdown at the beginning of the year. However, I've never told her nor my sweetheart GP about the extent of my problem. It's a really difficult thing for me to talk about, not to mention I am terrified of either of them thinking that I am over dramatic, overreacting, or an attention-starved teenager putting on an act. Which might sound stupid, but these two ladies are the only people I go to with my problems in the world. If I lost their belief or trust, I just do not know what I would do.

However, after seeing that there are other people in the world with this problem, maybe it is something I should discuss.

Strangely enough, my GP has already suggested talking to my psychologist about Cognitive Behavioral therapy, though I don't know for what reason exactly. I had forgotten until now, so thank you for that as well!

Just thank you so much for your incredibly helpful and super supportive input. I appreciate it so sincerely. My next appt with my psychologist is next week, and I will not will not chicken out about bringing this up. Wow I feel like I owe you a lot or something. Thank you for taking me seriously and being great ;u;
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Offline Cheesus

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Re: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2013, 03:53:57 AM »
Fantastic! Absolutely bring this up with your psychologist. They will not think you are a dramatic teenager or whatever. Just to clarify, your psychologist and GP will both be of the opinion that whatever you bring to them is important to you, and so will never think that you are attention seeking. Everything that is important or a challenge to you, is by its very nature important to them. This is what they are there for... to help you through your difficulties.

Your gratitude is enough for me :) I really enjoy knowing that I've made someone's life a little bit easier! Let us know how it goes!
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You can't calm the waves, but you can learn to surf!

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Offline Lunatone

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Re: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2013, 02:46:16 AM »
This may or may not help but, you should try negative reinforcement. Like... The next time you do it, you immediately put a brine soaked rag onto the area.

This will hurt like hell, and reduce chance of infection and scaring. But seriously, it'll hurt like hell. Continue doing this every time.
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Offline dog

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Re: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2013, 11:19:08 AM »
I'll definitely give that a go, thank you for your response!
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Offline dog

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Re: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2013, 12:53:12 PM »
Hello again, just wanted to give an update since I talked to my psychiatrist today. She said that this is a compulsion/addiction, and suggested something that I have not thought to try, being the "wait 10 minutes" method. She said that it's used by people with OCD and has worked for picking in the past as well. She also told me not to be too hard on myself about it, as I tend to beat myself up too much.
I didn't pick at all yesterday and I'm working hard to keep that up!

Thank you both for your support once again.
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Offline AH1990

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Re: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2013, 01:29:05 PM »
I am mainly a hypochondriac although I do like to pick at random bumps on my body, especially the cuticles of my fingers. Best way I deal with it is by telling myself how dirty the world is and that an open cut will get infected. Acts as a deterrent.
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Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. - Thomas Edison

Offline Cheesus

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Re: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 11:07:03 AM »
Hmm that might reinforce negative beliefs, AH... not necessarily the route to good mental health.

That's great to hear you're now active in this, dog :) Not being too hard on yourself is always good advice. Somehow others are allowed to be imperfect, but we're relentless in our criticism when it comes to ourselves.

Best of luck!
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You can't calm the waves, but you can learn to surf!

Basis of Recovery
Intrusive Thoughts
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Offline AH1990

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Re: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 02:39:10 PM »
Hmm that might reinforce negative beliefs, AH... not necessarily the route to good mental health.

That's great to hear you're now active in this, dog :) Not being too hard on yourself is always good advice. Somehow others are allowed to be imperfect, but we're relentless in our criticism when it comes to ourselves.

Best of luck!
You're right. Just realized that my "system" might not be the best for other anxiety sufferers to follow since fears are very diverse.
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Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. - Thomas Edison

Offline zia

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Re: Skin Digging/Picking Addiction... Please Help?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2013, 02:50:47 AM »
Hi Dog,
 
Have you thought about going to a dermatologist and getting your acne treated? Even if you don't think it is bad enough to warrant your picking, you should not discount acne. Acne can be a major trigger for skin picking. If it isn't there, your fingers won't feel the bumps and you will have less of an urge to pick. You have to control what happens long before you start to pick. Once you get an urge, it becomes much harder to fight it. I picked for most of my life. Once I was able to have clear skin, the skin picking got radically better. I hope this helps.

P.S. I also credit my improvement to the year-and-a-half I spent in weekly therapy sessions. Behavioral therapy and habit reversal training are well worth it.   
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