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Constant Scab / Skin Picking
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Constant Scab / Skin Picking

My daughter, 5 years old, has been constantly picking at her scabs (from mosquito bites from over the summer).  She is causing scars where she picks and is getting into trouble in kindergarten because she doesn't pay attention while picking.  She is contstantly reminded at home and at school to stop, but continues to pick.  She says she doesn't know how to stop.  Is this a problem I need to have looked into?  Will she grow out of it?  I see other people's questions and responses and most are over 20 years old with this problem and on antidepressants...I want to help my child before it becomes a problem.  Please help.
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I would like to know the same thing. My 7 year old constantly picks at any sore she has. She recently picked at her pierced hole in her ear and she has not had earrings in for weeks because she didnt want to wear them. But she picked it sore from nothing at all and now we are trying to put medicine on it to get it to heal, but she still keeps picking. What should we do? Is this a nervous habit? Or is it the same as just having that picking habit?
Here's an interesting article on skin picking,  and related OCD.

At the end are two behavioral therapies that sound promising - for kids who are both so young,  Christa and Payari,  it may be a passing phase but the article is worth reading.

Best wishes
I have not visited the site but this may be helpful to some.....

Psychogenic Excoriation

To bring awareness to this disorder/ 1000 members by Dec. 31st, 2008 (please invite people upon joining!)
Donations to the cause benefit: OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE ANONYMOUS WORLD SERVICES INC A 501(c)(3) nonprofit View Fundraising History

   1. More research on how to "cure" this disorder is needed.
   2. People need to know that this disorder exists.
   3. Support systems about this disorder need to be created
   4. To recognize this as a problem that needs treatment rather than a shameful habit to be ign

Health - Mental Health and Crisis Services
Psychogenic Excoriation (aka Neurotic Excoriation, Acne Excoriee, Dermatillomania, psychodermatitis, Self Injurious Skin Picking) is a compulsive disorder characterized by the repeated urge to pick at one's own skin often to the extent that damage is caused.

Currently the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, the written authority on psychiatric disorders, doesn't have a specific accepted "name" for the condition yet. The medical term for this disorder is Trichtotillomania, which is another disorder triggered by the same impulse. Compulsive Skin Picking is related to Body Dysmorphic Disorder as well as
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders.

- it is NOT the same as "cutting". Skin picking is impulsive and many times done without the picker knowing it.
- it is more taboo than admitting to alcoholism because of the lack of awareness.
- sufferers find skin picking to be gratifying rather than painful.
- this behaviour can consume many hours a day and may involve the use of pins, knives, staple removers, tweezers, and razor blades.
- can become life threatening; when the picking is so deep as to threaten or expose underlying vessels, which may require emergency surgical intervention
- sufferers may enter a trance-like state without feeling pain from the infliction[s] caused to the body; dissociating the mind from body.

- genetic link
- learned behavior from others
- childhood abuse; sufferers often take on the job of abuse once it's finished
- the irrational intention of clearing the skin, though it causes more damage

It becomes a problem when it causes noticeable damage to the self, results in emotional distress about the problem, or takes up considerable amount of time in one's life by either engaging in the behavior or attempting to cover it up. In more severe cases individuals suffer impairment in social or occupational functioning through decreased social activities, lateness for work, and avoidance of activities due to embarrassment of the visible damage done.

MySpace Cause:

Main Website About CSP:

Dermatillomania Facebook Group: id=2213187823

Another Information Site:

An Article:

The result of the picking cause shame and anxiety, which can lead to more picking. Thus, the cycle continues.
i have a six year old daughter that is a picker she will pick at any scab she has on her body. she picks the skin from round her fingers and has rescently started picking at her face. just as the scabs are about to heal she begins to pic at them agian. this is causing me a great deal of cocern as shes leaving small scars all over her body and face. ive taken her to she a gp because i have been worrying about this so much i have been asked to take her for a blood test to check her iron levels  which i thought was a bit strange but aparently if there is a iron level problem the child begins to pic at there face? if the results come back ok they will refer her to a child psycohlogist
i was just recently diagnosed with ocd and i've been picking all my life, even from infancy - head (not hair, but scabs on head), scabs (either self-created or from common injury), mosquito bites, nails (fingers and toes), acne, and even arm/leg hair. i can't tell you whether my medication is working or not because i just started it, but if your children start picking in even more places, definitely look into ocd and behavioral therapy. also look for signs of adhd especially from an early age like kindergarten, because  sometimes they're linked (i believe i have both too; the doctor i had wasn't the best so i'm going to ask more in depth questions in a future appointment). for ocd, try to see if your child does any rituals or tasks over and over again, like hand washing.

Anyway, good luck with your daughters/sons.
(age 16)
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