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Compulsive Scalp Picking Disorder
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Compulsive Scalp Picking Disorder

I'm 14 years old and I think I have a compulsive scalp picking disorder. It all started with just a little scab on my head, about three year ago. I couldn't stand the little imperfection so I used my long finger nails to pick it off. Then I noticed all the other little perfections on my head and all the little chunks and flakes of dandruff. Now I have several scabs and sore spots on my head and I can't stop picking! I think that the habit is disgusting! The worse times I pick are when I'm stressed and under pressure, when I'm doing homework, and especially when I am in front of the bathroom mirror. I can sit on the bathroom counter staring into the mirror so I can tilt my head so I can see what to pick, digging my nails into my scalp until someone starts knocking on the door and questioning me! I hate it, and all the little white lies needed to cover it up, and I want to stop but I feel like I can't! I would like to tell someone but I am too scared. I try not to let anyone know because I think they would think I was really gross and weird. I go to a therapist for anxiety and OCD and take a pill called Fluoxetine, also called Prozac but to my friends, I am a regular teen age girl! I want to stop this disgusting habit so bad! Please help me!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey, I dont know much about you, but maybe you should go to a therapist that treats OCD specifically and does things like CBT (cognitive behavior therapy), I dont know if thats what your dr. is but I thought prozac only treated depression symptoms, there are other drugs specifically for OCD, among other things, like Luvox and Anafranil. Anyways, I see your problem, my aunt does this thing where when she is stressed (which is almost always) or anxious or unhappy she will pick at her face (her blemishes) and will pull at one strand of hair, I don't know exactly what she's doing but she'll keep running her fingers over strand after strand, I don't know if she pulls them out or not. Anyways, you should definently include your family in on your situation so they can give you support. If they aren't that kind of family where they would understand, go to your school nurse, or your pastor or someone else you trust who could give you guidance. God bless.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been picking my scalp since 2003.  I have a skin tag at the base behind my head and kept fiddling with it until oneday, started picking at it, hoping it would come off. It just produced a scab and I kept picking on the scab ever since and even save the scabs in an envelope which I hide in one of my jacket pockets in my closet.  To me, this is like removing "the cancer" from my body.  The bigger the scab i can remove, the better i feel.  Sometimes, I go over my saved scabs and examine them, esp the large ones.  I've been wanting to burn them to save me the humiliation of someone discovering them after I die.  I have created 2 scabs on my scalp and have 2 separate collection of scabs.  I cannot mix both.  when i remove a scab, esp a large one, even if i am far away on vacation, i save the scab, wrapped in a tiny piece of paper in my wallet and "file" it away when i get home.  talk about ocd!  one of my scabs has finally healed after taking biotin pills (otc) for hair and scalp, but my skin tag won't heal.  I now have a new scab at the crown of my head and have been applying meds intended for another skin condition.  it works but when it finally dries up, i'm back to picking at the dry skin.  i've cut my nails but i'm still at it and it gets frustrating that i can't pick on my scabs properly.  it surprised me that there are other folks out there who save their scabs like i do.  i feel like a nut but it makes me feel good that i am able to remove the dead skin/'cancer' from my scalp.  onetime i was bleeding so bad, the blood was actually trickling down my neck; it wasn't even painful when i was picking at it.  must've picked on a nerve or something.  i read here that i need to go back to 2003 and find out what happened in my life back then that started all of this.  i had a hysterectomy in 03 due to uterine fibroids.  my periods were terribly heavy, affecting my lifestyle.  according to my surgeon, my uterus was deformed because of the fibroids and weighed something like 5 lbs.  maybe that was the "mother of all cancers" that i felt i had to remove from my body.    
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Avatar_n_tn
im only 11  an i have then because my sisters have a special shampoo for dry hair and i use it cus i dont have eny choise so do u think i can just change shampoos and it will stop
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1699033_tn?1405352675
I'm sorry you are having problems.  What exactly are you going through?  Is your scalp itchy so you scratch it a lot due to the dry hair shampoo or are you actually picking at your scalp and causing scabs that you then pick off as well?  
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Avatar_f_tn
I have this same exact problem. I have been picking ever since 3rd or 4th grade. It started with just one scab but then I would keep itching and find something else to pick at and now my whole head is full of scabs and painful sores. It's soo comforting to see that i'm not the only one with this problem. I take fluoxetine  too for anxiety and depression but I don't thing my scalp picking is anything OCD related. I think it's just a bad habit and we all have bad habits. I've noticed that using medicated shampoo's only burn my scalp even more. What I do is I keep my hair up when I feel the urge to scratch or pick. I also file my nails down so it's harder to pick. I hope that helps!
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm 12 years old, I do the same thing but do it in any mood. I do it whenever I can & get moody if I can't pick a scab on my head. I have been slightly depressed & a friend said that could have something to do with it.
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1699033_tn?1405352675
This is a habit that you have developed.  It could be due to depression, it could be due to anxiety.  Just having read this forum, I'm sure you realize that a lot of people go on to pick for the rest of their lives.  It can have devastating effects down the road such as hair loss.  So please tell your parents about this.  You need to see a psychologist that can help you with behavior modification.  Now is the time to put a stop to it.  Take care.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I am 19 years old  .whoa i never knew so many people would be having the same problem as i do. I have been scalp digging since idk five years approx.i also had a problem hair plucking for about an year.i scalp dig every single day.its disgusting n embarrassing.i specially do it in stressful situations n when m constantly thinking. M glad i could express about this problem here. There are lot of articles and posts regarding this problem.but m sort of confused and worried as to what exactly should be done. Please help.
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