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complusive scab picking
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complusive scab picking

I have been picking scabs on my scalp for at least two years.
When I was younger, I began to pick at my nails. I would pick at the sides of my nails and pull the cuticle until I would bleed. Athough it hurt, I would still do it and I guess this sounds crazy, but i liked the feeling.
I have found myself stopping that habit and starting to pick at scabs that I have made on my scalp.
It has become more of a problem since I recently finished my first year of college and I have been under a lot of stress.
I think I started this habit when I started to notice that my sister had dry scalp. I would worry that I had it too, so I would pick at the things that weren't there and causing myself to have scabs.
I find myself really wanting to stop, but it seems impossible. I find myself in a trance-like state and when I realized what I did it's to late. It has come to the point where I start to bleed. I also have found that I pull my hair out as I try to pull the scabs out.

I would like to know what i can do to stop this diguisting habit. Its extremely gross and embrassing.
help!


This discussion is related to RE:RE: Compulsive scab picking.
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27 Comments Post a Comment
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484465_tn?1347117312
Sounds like it resembles nail biting which is an easier thing to cure b/c you can apply this type of bitter tasting polish and you will miraculously quit going for your nails.  I sat here for a few moments wondering about your post and couldnt come up with anything about how to kick the scabpicking habit.  I know many children who do it.  My husband and his best friend both still do this as well.  It would be interesting to find out if anyone has any suggestions for this
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Avatar_n_tn
I haven't read of any great solutions yet.  I am desperate for one.  I have been picking since I was a child and am now 39 years old.  I probably have a dozen sores in my head right now that I can't quit picking on.  Like others have said, I actually get a lot of enjoyment from it.  I don't like the bleeding part but the scab peeling off gives me a little high.  I know it sounds crazy but I just want to stop.  I bite my nails terribly and pick at anything on my body--loose skin on my feet, toe nails, zits, etc.  I have been taking Zoloft for years--anxiety/depression issues.  Nothing that I've been hospitalized for however I can't go without it.  I thought of hynosis and acupuncture (sp?) and am not sure if this is even a solution.  I am terrified of cancer but it doesn't stop me.  I am deperate for help.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the same problem you do and it's been worse over the past 5 years.  I pick at my cuticles and scabs on my head.  It's so disgusting!!  I have the same type of symptoms though.  Trance-Like state.  It even hurts but I can't stop.  My husband even knows about it and tells me to stop everytime he notices me doing it.  Instead of stopping (which I feel I want to do), it just makes me mad and makes me want to pick more.  I have been on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication but nothing helps.  If anyone has had any success with this type of problem PLEASE POST
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535822_tn?1389452880
Gosh sounds like a painful habit, maybe that is the Crux ,its a Habit over the years and if you developed it as a child its hard to break, I suspect you saw someone doing it when you were very young,and you are copying. Now why not(if you really want to stop doing it)each time you are tempted reward yourself with a treat like we do with kids,give yourself feed back and say 'I can do this I can go so long" make a time frame and see if you can get it longer and longer, focus on pretty clothes to wear and you dont want scabs showing.
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Avatar_n_tn
It's not as easy as it sounds.  I wish it were.  Last month, I quit biting my nails and cuticles and actually was able to grow them out.  However, the picking in my head got so bad (nails that are thin and sharp can really pick) I had to go back to biting them again just so I can hopefully let the scabs heal in my head.  This sounds so disgusting to admit.  I'm not some weirdo creapy person either.  No one would ever know all this just by looking at me (besides my nails).  I can remember doing all of this when I was a kid.  Does anyone know if this can cause cancer?  I want to go in for a cancer check to my dermatologist but I keep saying I'm going to get them to heal before I do.  Of course that never happens.  I'm too embarrassed to let the doctor see them.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow, that sounds so similar I could have written it myself!  Same thing....,cuticles and scabs on my head, both go back about 10 years.  I'm 23 and only my husband and parents know about it.  It's embarrasing, and definitely hard to explain.  Sometimes, I don't even realize i'm doing it! It's like my fingers have a mind of their own. The picking usually happens when I'm watching Tv, reading, studying...things that leave my hands free to wander. My husband catches me all the time and tells me to stop....I appreciate it, but it just makes me want to do it more, almost like a craving.  I've had fake acryllic nails for the past month in an effort to stop picking.....i stopped messing w/ my cuticles and do less damage to my scalp (since the nails are thick and blunt), but still pick.  I'm totally confused! Years back i was also on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds, but i'm not sure if that's related. This is a very frustrating and reoccuring problem!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I tried the nails too and kept them up for a couple of years with a break in between.  The were great at first because they were so blunt and I couldn't pick.  However I eventually learned to get past that and pick anyway. I did stop biting the cuticles too until the end and then the nails started to drive me crazy until I decided to take them off.  Did the meds help while you were on them?
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Avatar_n_tn
I didn't have much luck with the meds.  Originally a doctor put me on birth control pills (about age 14) and diagnosed me w/ PMDD...fancy way of saying extremely emotional around my period.  The pills weren't enough, so later we also tried Prozac, Paxil, and Sarafem (separately) and they always seemed to make me feel like a zombie.  I may not have been as angry or depressed, but i wasn't happy and couldn't cry even if i wanted to, i didn't like the feeling of not being in control (even if that control was unstable).  I've also been on Xanax for anxiety, but that was a bad experience, too.  I just abused the prescription...everytime i took a pill, i drank a beer...so i was actually increasing and exaggerating my anxiety.  Personally, i find more solace in talk based therapy...i never made any connections with professional therapists (never met any i liked), but talked with friends going through the same feelings, family too.  Talking through issues helped a lot.....i kinda had to train myself to verbalize emotions.  I still have my freak-outs though...

And, i agree....the nails are not helping as much as they initially did :(
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Avatar_f_tn
I have going through the same issue.  I was too embarrased to go to a hair salon because of the baldness on my head from scab picking.  I have stopped picking my hair but now I pick at scabs all over my body.  I honestly look horrible.  I wiah I can turn back because I have destryoed my beauty.  Scars everywhere.  This has caused me to stick to long sleeves shirt.  I want to be able to look good, but its like I'm controlled by this disgusting habit.
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Avatar_n_tn
ive had the scalp picking problem for over six years and the only thing that has ever helped me is to keep fake nails on my fingers. the nails are to thick to pick unfortunately it is kinda expensive
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been having these spots/scabs on my head for over 10 years now! It started when i was a teenager and at school, im now 25, and i am still getting them. I had facial acne when i was at school and used to pick and pick no matter where i was. The other kids would tease as it did look so awful and made me very ugly. Although i managed to kick the picking of the facial acne and it has now all gone with no scars :-) i unfortunatly cant stop the head acne picking, as i thought no one can see those spots, but I wont let them go away as i CANT STOP picking at them, i dont want to pick but then i do it without even realising and its then to late. The problem is, because i have been picking for so long, and sometimes some hair comes out when i have picked at them i am turning GREY! And the picking has to be the only reason why, as its only turning grey in the areas of the scabs, how do i stop? I so want to but cant :-( Anneka
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Avatar_n_tn
I've had the same problem of picking at scabs on my scalp for 3 years. I finally stopped but I had to be aware of what I was doing and reason myself out of picking at the scabs. I stopped because my self esteem was damaged so much by the picking and I knew if I continued I'd never feel better about myself.  I was so embarrassed about the scabs on my head I started doing my own hair at home instead of going to the salon. I felt terrible about the way I looked...I used to feel pretty but not so much anymore.
One thing that helped me stop picking was realizing why I started to pick. I can trace my habit back to a very stressful time in my life where I was hurt by someone I loved and felt as if I had no control in what was happening to me. I think it was a way to avoid dealing with my feelings. Maybe scab picking is a self-soothing sort of habit. I since have been able to verbalize my feelings and I am learning to deal with my emotions in a healthier way. I also kept my finger nails really short so I couldn't pick at the scabs as easily. I hope this helps someone. I know how hard it is to have a habit that makes you feel like you're crazy when you know you're not. Try getting to the root of why you started picking and find someone you trust to talk with.
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Avatar_m_tn
All of the comments on here have made me feel much better because I have had this same problem for 18+ years. Around age 12, I remember picking scabs all over my thighs, ruining white shorts, and my mom being horrified. Then I had pimples on my forehead at age 15. I picked them and had huge scabs. However, I was in love with a boy then who said nothing about them, so I didn't try to change. This has progressed to hair pulling and scabs in my scalp, as well as face, arms, and legs. I've had tons of grief from my family, to no avail. But these posts are helping, and I'll keep reading to hopefully find something that will fix this. Thank you!
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Avatar_f_tn
I see you haven't posted for some time but I can relate. I'm a bit different though. I pick all over. My face, my head, my rear, my legs, stomach, arms, and belly, you name it, I'm tearing myself apart. I don't deal with stress well (understatement of a lifetime) I've been diagnosed with many physical ailments (a disease in my spine and nervous system) and Bi-Polar Depression, with OCD. None of the meds work. The only time I get a break from the symptoms with my skin is during the summer. To burn or not to burn is the question. Of course use sun screen, but slightly crisp has been a good thing for me. If you can afford it try tanning beds during the winter. I know this works because the only areas I continually have problems with are the areas I don't tan, you know, my butt and boobs. Hope I've been a help to you or anyone else out there suffering from this embarrassing habit.
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Avatar_f_tn
i have psoriasis in my head which i know its disgusting but i pick it and eat it!i cant stop it even tho i know its awful,i actually am pleased if its big flakes that i can pull out.i take amytriptelene but it doesnt stop me.i actually found i could get lots more out with a nit comb so wud comb it thru and lick the comb.yes i know its gross but i enjoy it.i only stop when no more flakes come onto the nit comb.by then if i look in my head its red raw and blleding.i then dread washing my hair as even water is painful but shampoo burns my head.not bad enough for me to stop.i try all the dry skin shampoos and treatments nothing gets rid of the flakes i have to force myself to let my skin build up to a white sheet not red raw to go get my hair cut then warn hairdresser to be careful with comb as i dont want my head to bleed.why????i do this daily but feel ashamed for the hairdresser to see what happpens!please help how do i stop this?i am worse if i am watching tv on my own cos i can sit with my comb licking and combing.i was once caught doing it and told the person i was licking the comb to make it cling to anything in my hair as my hair is too fine.thankfully they seemed to beleive me.i hide the comb if any one comes into the room as its usually encrusted with skin or skin and blood.can i cause any infection or skin cancers doing this.i couldnt admit to a dr what i do.so dont even suggest it!
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Avatar_n_tn
PLEASE!  
I used to scratch at my face until I had scabs, and at the time I was seeing a psychiatrist for other matters, but she hypnotised me, and gave me the suggestion that my arms felt really heavy when I raised them. This sensation occured over the next few days, which meant NO MORE ABSENT-MINDED scratching - it was ALWAYS brought to my attention BEFORE it began. By the time the sensation of heavy arms faded away (a week at most, but hard to remember now), the bulk of the habit was broken, and I didn't have 'heavy' arms but I did catch myself before I started, or soon into it. Thus, the habit was broken! I find also, go and wash your hands, and whatever body part your're scratching. The clean skin then feels different, which helps bring attention to what you're doing, which helps you to stop.  There ARE ways to stop this, you probably need prof help, but it CAN be done, and what a weight off your mind when it stops. LOVE yourself and spend the money on getting advice, you're worth it.    
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Avatar_m_tn
Here is the medical term and their also is one for pulling hair from body. Ive done this for about 5 yrs and Im sick of it..I make myself look horrible and my wife tells me to quit, but she dont understand and It makes me mad and do it more.. Im going insane with this disordeer!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatillomania
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Avatar_m_tn
I didn't even know that this was a condition, I'm 17 and I've been doing this for years. I never noticed at first until my mom noticed and asked me what happened... and even then I never really thought about very much, I noticed thought that I was happier after I picked big scabs though they hurt... A LOT!
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Avatar_f_tn
HI. Um.. Lets see. My name is Katie and I am 15, I think I started this in Grade 5 or 4 so I was around 10? But I do have a faint memory of how this could have started. My teacher was reading a book. There was a scab on my leg and I guess I picked it. I think somehow that started this thing because that was the first time I did it.

Well Ive always hated it, I am going into grade 10 and I have something kind of interesting. If I HAVE to stop with for some event like my grad it seems I will, only temporarily though. I think it is progress though :) Honestly though, after reading most of this and a few other websites my case isn't that bad :) (Yay).

I remember my mom told me I had to stop picking for my grad. Amazingly enough besides very faint scars(luckily my scars are almost skin coloured).  i did and my arms had no scabs. But somehow after this event there is a very faint bump or something and I end up picking at it until the stupid scab is reborn :(

But I have gotten better, it goes on and off. I try super hard and the habit goes away a little until it heals but somehow it starts up again.

I have a trailer and a cottage and there are plenty of mosquitoes there. So to help prevent scabs forming whenever I get a mosquito bit I either itch around the area so I doesn't bleed or I apply ice or that mosquito bite stuff to it to stop the temptation. {Which may help some people if you haven't already tried it}. And I would do this until the mosquito bite died. :)

I actually only pick at my arms and my head. I think I used to pick at my lups too, but I was younger and somehow the habit disappeared quickly. Also If there is a scab it tends to be only like max. 3 per arm(in the upper area). So that makes me eternally grateful. And my head I can stop its just I always get it so its healed and then it comes back. My friends think if there is something on my forehead its just acne, but its not :P I have and was supposed to until this scab picking thing not have acne or have extremely minor acne. xP And my head is not much of a problem because I have bangs that cover it.:D And its 10x easier to stop I actually got the bangs before the problem too.

Also, I have so many dreams(this is my main one, but I have a back up plan too). I want to get into the singing industry whether its minor or major. And I swear I'm not tone death I'm actually pretty good at singing, my mom was too though. I perform in front of thousands of people at these festivals my city holds. And I know I must stop this habit before I get out of Canada to become a singer.

The reason I brought that up though is that I wonder if being that determined helps with the issue? Is wanting it to go away so bad and almost stopping most of it helping? Is this habit just stuck in everyones head and we just need to kick it out? Thats what I wonder. Sorry I wasn't of any help. Perhaps someone can try to answer my question.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello Everyone

Glad to know I'm not alone, I'm Keira and I'm 31. I started picking my scabs when I was falling off my bike as a kid. Afterwords when I had pimples I had a habit of picking them which has unfortunately left some marks. I don't pick my scabs as much now I rarely have any but the big issue for me is ingrown hairs on my legs, I have had this problem for about two years were I will get them and they swell up and I spend half an hour picking at them. Scince it's started my legs look horrible I mean like they have little scabs and pink spots all up and down them.

I can't wear a dress really or shorts because it looks disgusting and my legs are super long so it really depresses me but no matter how hard I try to stop this I keep continuing like it is impulsive. Doctors can't help me and razors and medications have done nothing, as long as they are forming and getting infected I will pick at them like it is impulsive and I'll pick the scabs over them thinking there is a hair stuck but I only make the problem worse.

I would like to know if anyone has had this problem on their legs and if they did how do they treat it or if they got ride of it. Please help me my bothers and sisters I have super sexy legs and want to stop picking at them
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Avatar_f_tn
I used to bit my nails I tried the bitter tasting stuff didn't work nothing did what stopped me was getting my nails done having fake nails cause when I looked at them they were pretty and I didn't want to mess them up I still get them done just cause I like the lil pampering I get. Now one ur ur problem my sister did this too it started with her twisting and pulling her hair out and the evolved over the years. They said it was depression and anxity it took several monthes and lots of different doses of medication but once they got the levels going right she totally stopped that was about a year ago and she hasn't done it since. U said u were on zoloft maybe its not strong enough to control ur anxity just a thought
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Avatar_f_tn
I am relieved to find that I am not alone!!!  I am 45 and started this habit about when I was 12 years old. Long story short I started after getting my first perm for my hair.  My parents had just seperated and it had been about a yeas or so since I had been molested by a family member- my cousin.  I was heavy, and had and still have basically no self esteem.  I was raped in high school and started my drug career.  I am sharing these details because I remember reading somewhere about some kind of depression that involves picking and if memory serves me right one with this condition just kind of mentally checks out.  I do have depression, anxiety, and pstd.  If anybody knows what I am referring to please let me know.  With my conditions and adding drug addiction I am someone I do not know or like.  Like many have stated it is like I am in a trance and an hour can go by and it does not seem like it.  This scalp picking is gross but I can not stop.  It at times makes me feel better then guilty and cycly continues.  Sorry for the misspells, spell check is out and I am too lazt to pick upm the dictionary.
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