Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Community
Compulsive Scalp Picking
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This community is an un-mediated, community for questions and support regarding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) issues such as: causes, check locks, check stoves, clean things, count items, dirt, doubt, drugs and medications, family and relationship issues, fear of forgetting, fear that a mistake will harm a loved one, financial issues, germs, horrific images, OCD research , order things, perform rituals, repugnant images, repugnant religious thoughts, repugnant sexual thoughts, , shower, symmetry, symptoms, touch things, treatment, violent images, wash hands

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280 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
I love it , it is my favourite thing to do !!!! Searching my head for scabs , sometimes even getting something sharp that will make my head bleed to then make more scabs , I also have bipolar and anxiety and insomnia so I find myself picking all through the night , I'm also loosing my hair , I think it is a form of OCD , the percentage of us who do it have depression or anxiety or both and are on antideppressants .
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Avatar_f_tn
It is such a relief to know I am not the only person..I have always been a bit of a nervous picker; nails, ears, face and especially head. But recently I have just finished university and the uncertainty of everything has left me feeling constantly nervous and a bit sick, and picking my scalp to pieces. I know everyone can see it, and it makes my head bleed but I can't stop. Its so embarrassing and it makes me uncomfortable and my hair greasy and its come to the point to do something about it!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
OMG!!! I seriously thought for YEARS that  was the only one who did this!!!  I pick at everything from my scalp, nails, skin around my nails, lips, face, etc.  I have tried stopping but every time I try to I just end up doing it again!!!!   I find myself doing it more when I am bored or in a trance, like if I really get into a movie and do not have anything to keep my fingers busy, I pick!!!  Could this be because I used to be a SMOKER and now I am just finding other things to take place of smoking?!?!
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Avatar_f_tn
OMG!!! I seriously thought for YEARS that  was the only one who did this!!!  I pick at everything from my scalp, nails, skin around my nails, lips, face, etc.  I have tried stopping but every time I try to I just end up doing it again!!!!   I find myself doing it more when I am bored or in a trance, like if I really get into a movie and do not have anything to keep my fingers busy, I pick!!!  Could this be because I used to be a SMOKER and now I am just finding other things to take place of smoking?!?!
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been doing this for about 6/7 years and it's so hard to stop. Does anyone else do this not just due to stress or anxiety but due to boredom or restlessness? I don't want to go to the doctors and I definitely don't think I need medication. I'm not depressed or have any trouble with OCD in any other form (if you would call constant scab picking OCD that is). I do this pretty much every day and it's embarrassing even thinking of telling someone about it. If people notice I always say its irritation due to buying cheap shampoo. I've tried to stop myself and it has worked for a few days but it always starts again...

Does anyone have ideas or forms of advice to try and stop?
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5316450_tn?1366334152
hi im the same as you ive been doing the exact same thing as you since I was 13 I am now 33 I purposefully make or keep scabs on my head because I like the feelin and I only do it on my head so the hair can cover the sore and the scabs I do it more often when im bored or stressed and make new sores from scares if they heal as I cannot stop I chopped off all my nails to stop me from doing this and my head healed and I stopped doing it for a while but like any addiction I began doing it again with out noticing. my ocd is I like to control everything around me and if I cant I start picking at my head.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow, you just explained me to the T!  I only do this to my scalp as to avoid it being obvious!  I don't understand this awful compulsion either but I do know that I feel some strange satisfaction while its happening and guilt & fear afterward.  Thank God you are here as I don't feel so alone.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes, the fake nails helped me but I got so tired of doing it and it's expensive.  I'm wondering if just regular manicures would help.
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been reading through these comments & wanting to respond for a few hours, but couldn't stop picking long enough to type a sentence.  I particularly radiated toward your comment "scratching our heads...cope with life."  That's really what this OCD is - a coping mechanism.  So much of what is written here is familiar to me -- what a startling wake up call!  I didn't realize how much of my behavior is connected to this.  I have twice stopped picking...1st time for 3 years, 2nd time for 5 years, but it never occurred to me that there were stressors that caused it.  Duh - LIGHTBULB.  Then, you feel overwhelmed & try to soothe yourself in lieu of managing the stressor.  I feel really dense for not seeing the pattern through 3 decades of picking.  Currently, I've quit my job, am starting a business, have 1 parent that needs full time care & the other giving care while going blind (oh & he lost their life savings @ the casino).  There's the anxiety - and as I type, I realize I've not really put it out there to friends/family so I've removed the external support.  Maybe there's a shame element as well - not being able to pull it together seems embarrassing.  I feel fortified with all that has been shared & am ready to release this behavior again [hopefully 3x the charm].  For those asking for solutions, here are some things that have worked for me before:  1) remove the zone-outs.  The cable got canceled, tv unplugged & put in guest room, replaced with audio books 2) interrupt the sensation. I put a tiny clip around the area so my fingers hit plastic/metal instead of scab.  The initial contact alerts me to the desire to pick instead of digging for 10 minutes before I realize I'm doing it. And not touching the scabby place removes that sensory gratification which over time lessens the desire 3) graduated positive reinforcement.  I decide on a reward program to get me motivated - replaces the negative guilt feelings & something to look forward to @ 24 hrs/72 hrs/ 1 week/ 2 week/ 3 week/30 days.  Once I get to the month point, the momentum is real & the new habits are getting grounded. 4) negative reinforcement. I remove something & only get it back when I hit a big goal.  Gave my tax return to friend & couldn't get it back until I reached 90 days.  I used to volunteer, but wouldn't return until I reached 6 months. At 1 year, I had friends over for a dinner to celebrate "reaching a personal goal". They each brought a gift.. 1st time it was kooky socks/2nd time stock the tool box.  It helps to have reminders around that you can do it.  5) Exercise & fresh air.  I'm going to start again tomorrow (as in RIGHT NOW).  Should be interesting now that I have all of you to be accountable to.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there -
Im almost 46 and same as you - I'm on Paxil and Klonopin,
I've had ocd most of my life and am a scalp picker.
This sounds sooo weird to be typing. :D
SOOO - just to show you, you are not alone!
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been picking my scalp for a long time now and have been pulling out the hair around the scabs. I have recently started plucking the hair out with tweezers and have developed a few bald patches as a result. If i feel a short stubly bit of hair I cant stop plucking until I know its gone. I constantly take photos of the areas to try and establish where these hairs are and then continue to pluck away. I genuinely thought this was just me. How do I stop it? I am in need of a hair cut but I'm too embarrassed to go due to the state of my scalp.  
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Avatar_m_tn
* This could help!  It helped me when I realized it. You scratch your head and you feel something there and you want to remove it. But it's often just your hair! The hair it's bunching under your nails and it feels uneven like skin or dandruff.  When I realized this I found it easy to stop. I thought I was cleaning or smoothing my scalp, but it was just hair and i was creating problems.  Scabs is another story. That takes will power.  If you enjoy picking scabs, it's just a habit you have to break.
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Avatar_f_tn
I know how you all feel. Zoloft isn't designed to break habits, and I don't know of a single pill that is. I've had this problem since I was maybe nine or ten. I'm nearly nineteen now. I think I may have a technique to help you guys. I'm still working on it myself but I'm getting better. I've actually improved drastically, because at one point I had progressed to pulling out individual hairs and I have since stopped altogether. The most important thing is to know that all hope is not lost, that you can work on it and will someday have complete control over your fingers, if you stay positive and keep going even if you mess up.

First thing is to meditate. I'm not talking Ohmmmm and reaching Nirvana stuff, I'm talking sitting for a while in a quiet place, eyes shut, thinking about your hands. Actively think about each finger, what it feels like, what it moves like, and how it grows. Just actively think about what your hands feel like. You can do the same with your head. Create a special awareness for those parts of your body. Be aware when you revert back to scratching, and gently move your hands away.

Another thing I do is occupy my hands with other things to do. I draw, knit, play instruments, whittle, snap, anything to give my hands something to do.

Shampoo daily or every other day. It cleans all the extra debris away and helps you start healing.

When I catch myself scratching, I gently move my hands and focus on what my head feels like. What my skin feels like as it heals. How much I love the sensation of a healing scalp. I picture what it will look like if I stop touching it, skin slowly repairing and feeling all better.

The biggest thing is to be gentle but firm with yourself. When you catch yourself, slowly remove your hands as though they're delicate and priceless. Apologize to yourself. Keep going and don't give up. Don't be too harsh on yourself. Just remember what it will feel like to be all clean and whole.

Replace the satisfaction you get from picking with a different kind of satisfaction, maybe the satisfaction you get from thinking about your scalp healing. Practice using the pads of your fingers to rub instead of using your nails. If it's too hard to do that for yourself at first, practice on the head of someone you love while playing with their hair, or a pet, so you will be motivated not to hurt them. Be conscious of what that feels like, and train yourself to think of that as soothing.

I'm happy to know that there are people like me out there. Let's all work on it together. :)
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Thank you for your post.  I'm sure it will be of help to a lot of people.  Good luck.  Take care.  
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Avatar_m_tn

I have been a recreational head picker for years. I have not caused a lot of damage.

I guess I am a light or moderate picker. I took up knitting and that has helped a lot. I donate heavily to shelters and churches. Hats,scarves,mittens etc.

My dogs have about 40 hand knit sweaters (each). They are Chihuahas.

Keeping my hands busy is my therapy for this problem. I am by no means cured, but it has cut down considerably.  

Best of Luck to all

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Avatar_m_tn
Anyone ever pick other people's scalp, scabs or pimples?
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Avatar_m_tn
Could it all be due to unresolved sexual tension?
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5862476_tn?1375651534
I can't believe there are others like me that can't seem to stop picking at their heads. At first I thought it was just lice as my granddaughter and daughter always seemed to be getting lice. I know i had it a few times. So, that is where it first started. Then life became very stressful. I started to really pick alot. Figuring it was lice again. Sometimes it was and I am sure they loved my head as it would have been a great buffet for them with all the sores and then when i picked them off they would bleed...easy for the lice to munch away then!
Sometimes, I would find myself zoning out..and catch myself picking like a fiend...pulling off the scabs..sometimes they hurt like hell...and it was almost orgasmic relief when i pulled off the scabs it hurt but yet gave me some sense of pleasure/release.
When i went to the doctor he told me I had scalp psiroris. Told me to avoid caffeine/sugar/stress. Well, my life was just too stressful during that time so it was hard to avoid it.
Now with the lice gone,.and another dr. telling me it is Folliculitis I am still picking and scratching all the time.
The picking and scratching led to many big sores and infection and then the biggest scare of all was MRSA infections. I had a sore on the back of my head that was mrsa infected and it was the size of a golf ball or small baseball. It was excruiating pain...that made it so hard to sleep or even turn my head from side to side. It even made my glands swell and very sore in my neck. I have had a few of them that got infected with MRSA. This scared the crap out of me as more people die from mrsa than HIV every year!!
I started to read about natural cures for Folliculitis. One thing that came up many times was coconut oil/tea tree oil/oil of oregano.
So, I started to do the coconute oil treatment. Have a boyfriend who would heat it up and give me gentle scalp massages with coconut oil with tea tree oil in it. This was very nice to have the warm oil massaged into my head. Sometimes it was hard to fight the urge to scratch and pick. After the oil scalp massage i would put a plastic shower cap on my head and then shampoo 3/4 times the next day to get out the coconut oil. It made my hair wonderful and shiny and so healthy looking. Little did people know of the sores underneath. I kept doing this every 3/4 days...and most of them have gone away. I notice that they almost totally clear up...and then i have no open sores...then its like they pop up again...starting as little itchy bumps. Then i try my best to ignore them and sooner or later give in to the itch and start scratching...which leads to bleeding and scabs..then i have to pick at the scabs i guess they get itchy as they are healing...have to scratch them off...then its like sweet relief. I feel like a friggin freak...always got my hands in my hair, scratching or picking....and catch myself zoning out and then picking/digging in my sores. My son has this also. He has had it for a few years now he is 16 and has had it about 4 years i think. At first it seemed like he just had psiroris..but it slowlly progressed to sores all over his head...and back of his neck sometimes. He is better at controlling the scratching i think than I am.
My daughter gave him some cow antibiotics that her fiances mom uses and also he had long hair and they cut it off and I was choked to hear of the cow antibiotics. But, when i saw him after he spent a couple weeks at his sisters...his head was very much improved...but not yet all gone.
I do not know what the answer is...but do know that it does become a habit. Both my son and I have lost alot of hair...and I will just keep doing what i am doing as it is helping but still not totally gone....lately i have just been putting tea tree oil directly on the sores/scabs...and now i have only 8-10 sores and they were almost healed but i started to scratch which led to sores again...and this friggin cycle starts all over again.
I am 52 my son is 16. I want to be rid of this...and its so frustrating...but I won't give up...just thought I would share my story and hope it may help others and thanks for taking the time to read. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
OHHHH yeah, I also have read that neem oil is very good for this sort of thing but have not yet had the extra money to buy it...so maybe that will help someone else.
I know that most shampoos have chemicals in them that irritate the scalp like i think sodium laureate? so try to use a shampoo with neem in it as that is next on my list of things to try as well as the coconut oil and tea tree oil.
Good luck and thanks for being here! ;o)
Oh yeah, just wanted to add something else...was at my dr. last week, and he suggested that I may be bi polar and suffering from depression...I was offended and am not on any meds..but see that many here seem to have the same problem. So perhaps there is a connection?
Also, Colloidal Silver is a good natural antibiotic choice to help heal the sores, as it has no side effects and is very effective as an anti bacterial/viral/fungal. Read up on it..it is amazing!
Thanks for you time!
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Avatar_m_tn
I feel less weird now.. I mean, my head actually bleeds from doing it so much, during classes, while waiting for something or someone, all the time! I just can't stop. I have depression as well and I used to take zoloft, now I'm taking 15mg Lexapro. I don't really know why I do it, I just do.
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5958570_tn?1377382015
I know this may sound crazy but i started picking my arms and legs obsessively after i was molested age 9. It was very noticeable so i started picking my scalp. My doctor  said it is a form of controlled pain like cutting. Usually to keep your mind off things. I started writing a journal and it does seem to help relieve the desire to. But have I stopped completely no. Stress arguments etc anything that makes you stress out makes it worse for me. Anti anxiety and depressants have been the best treatmnt
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Avatar_f_tn
u r right. "fake" nails are thick and can't scratch scabs off so that's why the areas heal.
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Avatar_f_tn
me too!  I started digging into my scalp and I just connected the dots after your post.  It started when I went on cymbalta.  and now it's just gotten worse and I hardly can sit at the computer or drive without picking at my head.  I think prozac helped more w OCD behaviors and I was on prozac for a long time.  so it's probably due to that.  wow.  this is awful though i find it's affecting my productivity and now I have a little bald spot! ugh!
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Avatar_f_tn
ahhhh mindfulness.... that is the key... thank you!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I had never thought that I had OCD, but I have had this horrible habit since I was 8 years old, now 33! I only pick my scalp so I can hide it and it is especially bad when driving, watching TV or generally not doing much. I find it satisfying and painful and then I feel guilty! I did grow up in an abusive family but now my life is very smooth. I think it is a sort of escapism. I know I can stop as when I have booked a hairdresser appointment I force myself to stop so that I won't be ashamed. I did go to doctor once and he gave me an ointment/fluid to put on which helps them heal. I stopped for a couple of years but then it came back and I think it is worse than ever. I never realised this was a common problem. I think I just need to break the habit by doing something else, but it's so addictive and I somehow get satisfaction from seeing the scabs, even though they are disgusting really! I think I will go back to the doctor or councelling about this now i realise that it is so linked to anxiety/OCD/self harm!
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Avatar_m_tn
I am also worried that it will have long term affects.... balding, scarring, and what about the effect on antibodies and cells.... don't even want to imagine that it might cause other things!!
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Avatar_f_tn
For a number of years I thought that I was alone in this, and now by the grace of Jesus, seriously, I feel that I can share this painful secret that I've been carrying for a while now. I started scratching my head (of course when there wasn't a need for it) and watching the dandruff gather/fall during year 8 (mostly using a comb) when I was getting bullied more, at some point I stopped for a bit, then when I was 14 had a horrendous reaction to a medication, on my 15th birthday went Catatonic, and then when I got most of my faculties back started it up again in full-swing. Ever since 2003-2013 I've been on and off on and off with this ridiculous obsession. I feel so blessed to know that there are other people who have this, as horrible as it is. It doesn't make me feel so alone, but I do want to be free of it soon.
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Avatar_f_tn
I think I've finally accepted this is the problem I've got. I could cry.. I get stressed and worried so easily and I find myself feeling my head for scabs and I'll pick them, sometimes to the point I'm pulling hair and proper digging at my scalp that I'm making myself bleed.. I'm 19, and my hairs recently started to fall out and it's becoming thinner and thinner. I'm trying to find any excuse or reason as to why it's falling out but at the back of my head I just know it's because of all this scratching and pulling and the stress I have due to uni and money and family problems. I know it sounds stupid.. A 19 year old with money problems but I don't live with my parents, I live with my nan who's on pension credit and can't support us both on just that. Ive even been using vatika cactus oil to try and help my hair. I don't even realise I'm doing it half the time, I just find myself picking and digging i think this might be the reason as to why I may be getting headaches to. I'm determined to stop. I'm going to start having 'me' time, relaxing baths etc. I'm glad I'm not the only one. X
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Avatar_m_tn
I am 17 and male,  i have been picking my scalp since i was 10, it has been one of the most miserable things in my life.  I remember when it started,  which actually began with me pulling out my hair,  i developed bald spots and very painful scabs began to form.  I slowly switched to picking my scalp,  the worst part about it is that, with every scab i would pick off it would get worse and worse.  I have been doing research on this disorder since i was 10,  at first i suspected that it was dermatillomania,  which is a mental coping disorder, my life besides my struggling with school at the time, and my brother constantly stealing from my family, was great,so i concluded that it was not dermatillomania.  I realized however that this disease was purely part of my subconscious.  So i said "what am i supposed to do about it if i cant even realize when i am doing it consciously."  I was prescribed with conserta when i was seven to control my inability to concentrate,  it worked amazingly and my grades in school improved by four letter grades.  This i still believe is one of the reasons why i pick.  However in 9th grade i switched my prescription to vvance which never helped me.  So if it isn't dermatillomania, and its not my prescription.  What is it and how do i fix it.  I finally realized one day when i went to visit my aunt that, she did the same thing, i told her, and she admitted that she had been doing it for years.  So perhaps it is just a coincidence, and maybe it is hereditary.  In recent years i have noticed that i only do this when i am stressed, and without an extended break it gets worse and worse.  I have also noticed that i once had jet black hair, today i have gray spots of hair, some blonde spots and also light brown spots.  i have done research and it is because of damage to the karatin in your hair.  Damage usually from dying your hair distorts the pigments,  it will continue to change color until you quit dying it,  i have never dyed it however i believe that i have damaged it to that point.  So my next and final solution to this terrible disease, is to shave my head bald completely, over the next summer. i would have done this earlier if it had not been for the fear of what my scab and scar riddled head would look like,  so i will plan on doing that as soon as i am away from the public eye, and have a sufficient time to grow it back.  For women with this disease i have always found that putting on a hat preferably a beanie.  Cutting my nails as short as possible,  avoiding caffeine, getting exercise, doing a hobby, avoiding depression, sitting on my hands, and getting more sleep help tremendously with the picking.  I have also attempted to develop a different tick ( as a doctor would call this) such as snapping, or tapping all of your fingers to your thumb one at a time.  I would not recommend this to anyone because i have heard it can simply add an additional tick to your scalp picking, however in a desperate situation it may work,  just make sure what ever you choose to develop, that it is not harmful to your skin or your appearance.
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Thank you for sharing.  There is OCD research out there that is showing a genetic component, i.e., that OCD in some families is passed down.  Stress can be conscious and subconscious and so you may not always be aware of when you are experiencing stress.  Also picking can become a habit...so it is kind of a double whammy!  I wish you luck with your idea and hope that you can get past this.  Do you currently take any medication?  
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Avatar_f_tn
It is getting worse, the scalp picking.  I am getting headaches daily now and my head hurts and I want to just cry.  I think it is from getting off of Prozac, which I was on for 12+ years, and now am on Cymbalta.  the Cymbalta works great for depression and anxiety but maybe not OCD.  so going to dr. to see if I can get on Prozac *and* Cymbalta, and also try to stop this crazy habit.  the worst part is I'd rather do it than anything else, why why why?  I am becoming more unproductive too!  ugh!  thanks for any helpful hints, it's good to know i'm not alone....
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Avatar_f_tn
All of the above relates to my boyfriends "picking"! I am starting to get irritated by this when we are trying to relax then he just starts scratching and picking FOR HOURS! I have tried telling him in so many ways he actually has a problem but he avoids me and completely ignores the fact that he has a problem. Please help and tell me what I could do to help him?
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Avatar_f_tn
I started picking my scalp a few months ago. I also pull my hair out from my head. The picking is so calming for me but also painful. I found myself picking so bad one time it bled quite a bit and I became dizzy and just lightheaded. Then a headache would come. I also just lost more hearing on my right ear. Ive been hearing impaired my whole lige but a month ago I lost ten percent more on the right. Now I find myself asking myself did I cause the loss by picking my scalp so bad?? I wanna go back to therapy but its  sooo expensive! I am 29 yrs old w a 6 yr old daughter. My boyfriend is just amazing and I find myself being able to talk and trust him w my most private thoughts.
If anyone wants to talk and needs a friend please dont hesitate to contact me.

Natalie schrieber
Saint louis mo
***@****
Im on facebook also.
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Avatar_m_tn
I NEED HELP! I am 21 years old and a senior at an university. I have been picking at my scalp since I was 13. The reason why I started wasn't because of stress or anything. I remember I just thought it was dandruff, tried to scratch it off and it was actually a scab. Next thing you know I am literally just going through my ENTIRE head looking for my scabs to pick. It is DISGUSTING and to the point that I find myself doing it in public.

I do think it has a lot to do with habit more then anything else. I wouldn't really call myself depress but I am super stressed all the time from school. One thing that I notice is that when I am on Adderall (adderrall) I literally can't even focus on studying because I would rather be picking my head. Even during exams I will do it.

I don't really understand OCD.. I don't understand why I do this. It has even expanded to my face and I will literal sit in front of a mirror and just pick away, to the point my scabs are raw and actually get a yellowish color.

I am a pretty girl.. with a nasty habit not a single person knows about. My face is covered with makeup and I can use the excuse I am stressed from school but seriously this is crazy... I don't think I will be able to quit on my own.

I sometimes even catch myself biting my nails down to the point that they hurt. Ugh. One thing after another.

Please someone help me.. give me advice... tell me your success stories. I can't keep doing this.. there are probably about 10 scabs on my head right now and they hurt.. I don't want to get an infection.

:'(
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Avatar_f_tn
I never thought i would find a site about this haha, just kinda googled it to find out why i do this to my scalp. I literally just noticed it might be a problem about 20 min ago. I just turned 21 and i have always had long thick black hair i have been doing this for aboouuuutttt no idea, i wan't to say 8 or 9. I believe it started with me having lice and always passing my nails threw my hair to kill the little blood sucking bugs on my nails, this happened twice (thanks cousin), but it always lasted at most a month but after that i just always passed my nails threw my scalp just making sure there was no bugs left, didn't wan't my mom going nuclear on my freaking head again. Soon after that i had really but REAAALLLLYYYY bad dandruff to the point it was so itchy i wanted to cry, but yet for some crazy reason i liked picking out the big pieces of dandruff clumps off my scalp felt like pealing off my skin it gave me a sense of freedom like i can breath again, my dandruff is not crazy any more it is more like a normal amount but yet i crave to pick out those big clumps i am always searching on my head but i dont have it anymore so i pick at my scalp . It is kinda annoying now, there is nothing there yet i pick away at my scalp as if i did. Why? the f... i know. Is this just really habit?, maybe addiction?, i do have a very addictive personality i easily get addicted to anything i try and love.
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Avatar_f_tn
I pick at my scalp very badly as well. I think it started when i was 9 or 10 and noticed for the first time I had dandruff. Now I do it because my head itches. I don't have dandruff or psoriasis or anything of the sort, and I'm also a hairstylist, so I know how to take care of my scalp and hair professionally. Nothing can make me stop picking, I get one little itch and immediately think I have some sort of build up or irritant on the spot and will proceed to scratch at it. I do pick until it bleeds, and pick the scabs after. What I think is different about me is that I do it to other people as well. It started with my first serious boyfriend who would let me pick at his head and his back. After we broke up (which was devestating to me) I noticed I picked at my own scalp twice as much compensating for lack of another head to pick and extreme stress. I will do it out of boredom, concentration, etc... I mostly find myself doing it while I'm driving. My current boyfriend lets me pick at his scalp now also, and both of these guys would ask me to do it. I don't pick them till they get scabs only myself, but I get really close to doing so that it starts to hurt them and they tell me to stop. Does anyone else pick on other people?? I think I'm obsessed with the scalp and hair in general and becoming a cosmetologist hasn't helped. When I get a client in my chair who has scabs or dandruff I try to subtly pick or scratch it off with my comb. I also have an obsession with picking, biting and cutting my cuticles off.
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I also forgot to mention I have bipolar, depression and EXTREME anxiety. Anxiety is my main issue, but I've taken celexa, and hydroxizine which didn't work. Now I am on Wellbutrin and Buspar, I'm actually happy and don't worry about sh**, but wellbutrin is a slight stimulant and I've found that when I am on a stimulant like adderall (adderrall) my picking is 10x worse. But I don't want to give up my Wellbutrin. It can also increase anxiety in some cases but my doc won't give my xanax because of my past drug history :\ I also want to say that although meds for mental illness may cause some to have this habit as a side effect, I don't really think so. I think the meds amplify this behavior that was already there. I have one piece of advice though: IF YOU TAKE ADDERALL (adderrall) AND YOU PICK AT THINGS, you need to stop taking it! It's a HUGE reason why people pick. Why do you think meth heads and crack heads pick at their face and skin so much? People who've never picked at anything will develop this behavior just because they are on a stimulant.
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I just found this, it scared the crap out of me.... I know without a doubt I will not pick my head anymore. I am automatically petting my head when I find my hand there.. there is too much fear to mindlessly rip/ pick at my head now.  http://www.skinpick.com/node/3006
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I too pick my scalp.  I started about three months ago with just a little dandruff like bump on my scalp.  I picked it too hard and it bled a little.  And so started my journey.  I hate it.  I have scabs all over my head.  I keep telling myself not to do it but my hand just automatically goes to my head and picks before I even realize it.  I do have anxiety disorder and take Lexapro, but I have been taking it for a long time so I don't think it is the medication.  One thing I did not see anyone mention is how you feel after you pick off a scab.  To me it is almost like a little trophy.  The bigger the scab the better.  I know that sounds sick but thats the way I feel.  I have never had a picking problem before and hope it is not some form of self mutilation.
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I'm 32 and just now decided to google this obsession I have and it actually makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one. I started this at a very young age ( 7 or 8 ) and still strong at it. I have a bad problem with worrying about any and everything. I believe that is what started it all. Early family divorce and other issues increased it all. I have been taking lexapro for three years now and recently upped the dose from 10 mg to 20. No improvement. I have been concerned lately that the constant picking could affect my brain or something. Ha been doing it so long you never know. Just as everyone else has said I feel the same way as I'm doing it and the same afterwards. Hurts pretty bad at times. Hope this info helps add to the awareness of our problem.
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I have been a "picker" since I was thirteen. I can absolutely relate to the comments about this habit. I actually have a small comb that is shaped like a little rake that came with a hair streaking kit I once bought. I love going into the bathroom and scratching dandruff off of my scalp and looking at the flakes in the mirror while I do this. The larger they are the happier I am! My favorite thing is when there is a clump of large flakes in one area that I have loosened from my scalp. When I have picked my head until I can find no more flakes I fluff my hair around until the flakes have fallen onto my pants, (I sit in front of a makeup mirror during my head picking journeys). At that point I brush the collection into the toilet and go on my merry way. I know this is gross and would be extremely embarrassed if anyone knew I was doing this. It is rare for me to pick away to the point of a sore. Honestly I have to laugh a little at myself for this and I get the feeling some who have posted may also find some humor in it because of the humorous way they have related their stories. I am in no way trying to diminish the concern people have with this behavior and can sympathize with the worry it causes. I am relieved to know there are others out there who do this because I feel a little less weird now. I wonder it this picking thing is somehow related to primitive behavior because both humans and some primates do this.
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Wow can't believe there are so many people( like me) who have this condition.
It's very comforting to know I'm not the only one.
Thanks Y'all!
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I love your mindful way of making oneself aware of what you're doing - advice I will be taking, thank you xxx  I've been picking my scalp on and off for most of my life (particularly bad at the moment - hence looking it up on the net for the first time!) and I can see a direct correlation to stress as much as there is to a perverse 'self-soothing'! I incessantly picked my spots as a teenager (thankfully they are gone). I have had terrible problems with eczema yet still have carried on with picking my head - which is ridiculous as I need to help my body heal!
It's great to know that I'm not alone in my weird habit and I hope that we all can work towards filling our picking time with more exciting, constructive activities - or just extra sleep! xxx
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FYI ~ I too tried the fake nail tactic and it helped some but I still found other ways to pick at my scalp.  Also, manicure or not, the picking continues :(
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I just can't believe there is so many if us! Its horrible! Thought I was the only one. I know I have major anxiety issues, depression and ocd. I just done know how I can tell my doctor that I've suffered with all of these for years and not said anything... any advice welcome
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I have suffered from this since I was old enough to remember and so did/dies my mum/brother.,., I havnt lived with my mum so it isn't nurture its nature therefore something is defected. I/WE  all in acceptance of my brother did the pulling of hair from the scalp and my mum here eye lashes.,
it makes me cry to read all of your threads and know for the first time that I read as you all have said that we are not alone.However there is a defect and I hate to use these terms everything has to have a name OCD triganolmalokajhfoihfofj blahhhhh we do it because we hurt.
So, hello to all you real people who don't take your pain out on others and it is nice to finally meet people I knowwwww must be the same.
WANNA KNOW WHAT TO DO
Firstly if your a lady, get fake nails, its almost impossible to dig and all you can do is have a nice relaxing tiggle scratch SORTED
BUYS &GIRLS say this over and over and over as you sit on your hands
but they find their way back to scab.,., as soooon as you can come out of the trance notice the improvement from not plucking, pulling or picking and gently stroke yourself reassured and say over and over and over and over ''feel the heel'' and feel it get better.,., THEN WORK ON BECOMING A LITTLE MORE SELFISH AND HAPPIER.,.,If you cant beat em no need in beating yourself down, theyr trying to do that already.,., Just IMO from my experience as a 35y-o with STRENGTH.,., BE THE BOSS, ALWAYS! Don't let the F*&ers get you down!!!! LUV a FREE FROM PICKING FEMALE p.s. the occational holiday away to vallies never killed anypickers.,..,I don't reckon!! ;p X
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I have read most of the posts here and most are similar to what I have been through for about the past thirty years. I started picking at my scalp at about seven, which I just realized was probably a way I learned to cope with a very abusive childhood, and it has carried on throughout my life. After reading a few of the blogs, I started to really become focused on those who were concerned about lymph nodes. At 21 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which may not be related, but now I tend to wonder. After the stress of all of that, and as a way of coping during, I picked. I am now 38 and I suffer with major deppressive disorder, panic disorder, and have lately been dealing with an alcoholic. In the past few months there are times when I have literally done it 2 days straight with no sleep. Needless to say I have had one bout with an infected lymph node, and some smaller infections. The problem I am having is getting it across to the doctors and psychiatrists that I have seen about how seriously this is affecting my life. My last day of radiation treatment my oncologist told me to stay away from stress, and now to add along to it I am stressed about trying to explain this anymore.
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Hi, I am a 21 year old woman and I have been picking my scalp since I was a young kid. I found out four months ago that I have some deppresion and a strange form of ocd. I wasn't aware of how much I pick at my head and never thought of it at a compulsion because I'm not always having unwanted bad thoughts when I do the picking. I mostly do it when I'm bored, watching tv, or just laying in bed. I don't think I've ever caused myself to bleed or not that I've noticed. I like the feeling of it through my fingernails. I don't know if I maybe have some dandriff or if I'm getting stuff in my nails because I've picked at it so much. I'm on setraline (sub zoloft) 100 mg. I think its helped bacause I haven't had a severe panic attck in a long time.. but the picking is on going.. wish I could stop. Its like I don't even realize that I'm doing it sometimes!
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I know it's been said about a zillion times but I have to say it again, & I'm just so comforted that I'm not alone in this! I seriously thought I was the only one. It's really gotten bad lately. I don't think it's necessarily all stress or nerves-it's the winter, so I've got more dead skin, more to pick, so the more I have the more I do it. And it's just a pain because I have oily hair anyway (people don't get how I can  have dandruff/seborhea & and oily scalp too, but it's actually quite common), & the picking makes it MORE oily, fast. Have any of you noticed this too? Like literally my hair will be super oily before it's even dried from the previous time I washed it, all because of my picking. It's like, I just cannot stop. I limit it to when I'm in private, but if I'm in public & I happen to feel a big bump on my head, it's like I can't even wait til I'm in private. I'm really embarrassed to say this next part, for fear of being judged despite the fact this is anonymous & I'm among others that pick, but I actually eat the dead skin & scabs. Ugh, I'm so embarrassed to admit this, & I promise you I'm not crazy. You'd never think that by looking at me. But it's true, I've been doing it for years.
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My daughter is just 16 & is begging me to take her to the Doctor for this problem. She is quite stressed with school at the moment & it is her GCSE year. Her English Teacher left at Christmas & now school have decided to combine the 2 top classes with 1 teacher (60 kids). My daughter feels doomed to failure in her strongest subject.

This is not 1st time she seems to have suffered with a mental health issue. She went through a phase of self harming her arms & legs. She doesn't do it now. At the time I gave her the choice of talking to me, the doctor or her school to find coping methods at the time. She chose school. She then had a long term boyfriend (who lived several hundred miles away) & they helped each other. They mostly saw each other in holidays but did speak on Skype daily. She ended their relationship back in summer but they remained friends for a while. They fell out properly end of October & I am not sure if it is this, the teacher leaving, upcoming exams or a combination of all that is likely to be the route cause.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

In 2011 my role at work changed. I had no support for 18 months. In October 2012 I ended up off work with stress & on anti-depressants. I was being bullied at work &  I could no longer function ending up off sick. Work provided some counselling but myself & the counsellor established in the 1st session that what needed to change was my boss!  Boss changed March 2013. Off anti depressants April 2013. It was the 1st time in my life this happened I will be 50 this year. I am wondering though if it means my family is more prone to mental illness?
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Here's something you can try. Download a timer app. Start it and see how long you can go without scratching. If you give it, restart the timer. This will make you aware of how much you're doing it. Also, having a record to break is always fun.

Another thing that helps is keeping a brush or comb near you. When you get the urge, brush or comb your hair. A brush with firm bristles is the best. If you use a comb, just make sure you don't comb so hard you damage you scalp. And don't use the comb to pick.
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thank you so much for that post, such helpful advice. My scalp picking is getting worse & I know people are (nastily) commentating on it at work, but it's all part of the stress & anxiety that started two years ago, that I really need to get some professional help for, ie counselling again. It's worse at the moment as an anniversary is looming and I've started on a new area of my scalp. My head hurts mentally & physically so much at times.
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I have suffered for over 40 years. Fakenails help,.but then i find a sharp object when compulsion gets bad. Sometimes I feel like I will go crazy when the compulsion hits. I have had to pull over my car, find a bathroom or someplace private. I cannot stop. But like I said I have had acrylic nails for the first time, they seem to help some.
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For the longesT timeI thought I was the only person who did this. I.have struggled with this for 40 years. string I cannot stop. Sometimes the urge is soooooo strong I will have to pull my car over or find a private place to do it. I have even used sharp objects to make a scab. I have had up to 18 at one time. I have been diagnosed with, clinical depression,Ptsd,.anxiety bi_polar,insomnia,l.  I cannot stop, if I get the urge and cannot pick I start  to tremble I feel like I am going crazy. I have had people in the past say jusT q stop it. I.can't!!!! I rarely get my hair done. I try very hard so I can sometimes that helps.  I think stress brings on allot of the episodes. But sometimes I do lit just because I feel like viscious u cycle. must come off. It is a  viscous cycle.  IS THERE ANY HOPE or HELP?  Oh,and now my son is doing it too. I feel like I am a freak, but sometimes it makes me feel better when I do it, especially if it bleeds.
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Add to my last postn i have many other health problems. I take up to 14 pills  a day, I don't want more meds. Is  there any hope?
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Do you see a therapist for counseling or just a doctor for medication?  
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I have been "scalp picking" since I was 7 y.o.. I remember the first time I discovered the horrible habit, I was playing with my sisters in our backyard and they threw sand at me. I tried to shake it out and then started picking it out with my finger nails, and felt calm and at peace doing this "strange" new thing. My mom washed my hair but I insisted there was still sand in my head and continued picking. I actually would sneakily put sandbin my head ! Crazy! I feel like a weirdo saying all of the, as I have never discussed it with anyone.although I'm sure people notice as I catch myself doing this in public, meetings at my children's school, at the grocery store, really embarrassing! I am 28 years old now and still picking at my scalp. I have had stressors in my life, as everyone does. I was diagnosed with panic disorder and depression when I was 12, and have always felt so alone. If anyone knew me, who I really am, they would think I'm a freak. I'm at a point in my life where I want  to accept who I am and be OK with that. I was prescribed klonopin and Zoloft for 8 years. Klonooin was my best friend and it helped my anxiety and panic attacks, it ended up taking over my life until I could not be prescribed it anymore. I had horrible withdrawals physically and in my mind I thought I was literally gong to die. I couldn't even get out of bed. My husband was taking care of  our 3 sons while I was going through this hell. One day, my at the time 4 y.o. came into my room and said he knew I was going to die. That opened my eyes, and I was determined to live, really live, enjoy my sons, and get out of bed everyday and do it no matter how I feel. I have been scalp picking during this whole period and new just very determined to stop. I am taking st. Johns wort twice daily now and I am feeling much better. I still struggle with anxiety and obsessive thinking, negative feelings about myself. I hope I can somehow kick this habit. I think I got carried away but I really wanted to share some of my story with you, and thank you everyone who has posted, you have inspired me:-)
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Thank you! This seems very helpful. Every day I focus on stopping this madnesses I feel when I scratch at my head. I started it when I got Seborheic Dermatitis on my scap @ 1 1/2 yr ago. My hair is really beginning to get thin and I struggle not to touch my head in public. It has become a comfort to me when I scratch my head, almost like a security blanket!

I felt so peaceful as I read your recommendations to try... I'll begin now and begin over and over until I stop.

Many years ago I did something similar and had a bald spot the size of a silver dollar on my crown, I stopped then with lots of distractions and the help of a hypnotist... I can do it again.
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Hi, I have been looking into this and it's part of excoriation disorder, or dermatillomania.  They say that taking dopamine antagonists will help reduce picking behavior.  Also behavioral therapy.  I hope this helps.
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Exactly the same pattern here. Everything you describe is the same for me. I've been doing it for... 35 years!!!! Started around 15 years old. I don't think it is due to stress, I enjoy doing it. Never gave in the thought that is was due to my need to control things (as you mentionned). Made me think it might be the reason? Most of my wounds are hidden by my hair but if one is beggining to show, I keep all my nails very very short and can't pick easilly. However, I can go for weeks without picking if I don't have a wound. But if I don't wash my hair for 3 days in a row, than it is very easy to start new wounds. I scratch, when the sebum secretes, makes a crust and than I scratch to make a wound and then, the party starts for months. I can scratch the same spot 2 times a day. As soon as it's dry enough, I scratch it off. After maybe scratching off the same wound 50-75 times, it doesn't release blood anymore so it's game over for that one. But yes, sometimes I will get the same spot going again. I guess I will put end to my playground once I get older and won't have enough hair to hide my wounds.
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I would like to add something. I didn't have a trauma or difficult childhood. I don't have anxiety or any other problems. The only other reason I can think of for justifing my habit would be boredom? I enjoy getting my nail under and lifting. I am not sure I am addicted to the pain - or am I unconsciously - (because sometimes it is painful). If it comes off with no pain, or just a bit of pain, I prefere. But I will do it even if painful. Strangely, like others, I sometimes but not often, have a look in the mirror after I've picked.  Don't know why I do that. I think I look when I feel I've digged deep. To motivate me to let it heal.
Some wish to stop their habit but I don't. I like it and as long as it doesn't represent a risk for serious infection, I feel like continuing what provides me with pleasure. Does that sound sick?
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wow i am so glad i finally decided to google this! obviously it's been said many times now in this post but i didn't know anyone else did this, and even worse than i do. it's funny how so many of us remember the exact moment when it started. for me, it was sixth grade. i remember the exact maroon shirt i was wearing, just had an itch and i noticed white flakes falling out on such a dark shirt. that day i inspected my scalp for so long finding these little patches that i could scratch. it was just fun to do. i did it so bad though i had to wear a headband the next day so you couldn't see the red marks through my blonde hair.

i'm twenty one now and it's gotten worse. i think like many of you have said, it's caused by stress. over spring break when i was home i realized i didn't pick at my scalp once - as soon as i return to college, where i am stressed from school work & constantly annoyed by my roommate, i pick so badly. i hate that i do it, but in the moment, i love doing it. i think that once it all heals it will be much easier to stop, since there's nothing to pick - i don't even have much dandruff, i've basically created what i pick. of course…. stopping long enough to let it heal is the hard part.

times like this it seems impossible, i feel for little scabs to pick without even thinking about it - my fingers know just what they're looking it. i just can't stop. but reading all of your stories have really comforted and encouraged me knowing i'm not alone in this. good luck everyone.
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I'm on Effexor plus BP, cholesterol, and sleep meds...I can't stop scratching my head...I feel better when I bleed...I know this is bad but I seem to not care.
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Thank you. Your comments are very helpful.  I'm 63 yrs old and I never had this problem, although when I was younger, I used to pick my outer thighs. That habit kind of drifted away when I was in my twenties. This latest problem started when I developed shingles! It hit my head, the right side of my forehead and my right eye. Very scary, but thankfully, it did not go in my eye. Now that my eyes and face aren't swollen, the right side of my forehead is still numb. And the shingles on my head turned into scabs.  I didn't even realize at first and I was healing ok. About a month or so ago, I started picking the scabs on my head...just as they were healing! I do wash my hair and it immediately feels better, but I don't give them enough time to heal.  

I'm going to try some of your suggestions. I feel positive that they will work.  I'm ready to put this ugly habit to rest. I don't want to have my head shaved in order to deal with this problem.  So, thank you for your help. I feel stronger already.  It just shows that, even though I'm a counselor, I need help with this problem. Luckily for me, I thought to look online.

I think I'll try needlepoint.


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hi i've had the same problem since in like 4th grade. i used to be kinda a loser at school but its ok cause im not now but i would feel so self concious like for example this kid would always call me a chunky monkey or fatsoe, admit it, u just laughed, but i wasnt that obese. the kid who was calling me fat was like 60 pounds at that time and i was 62 and apparently thats obese and now even thought im popular(not trying to brag)i still pull my hair away
and then i scratch my scalp over my phone or my kindle or my black sweatshirt.  my hair is really thick so i havent noticed any balding yet but its yet to be noticed.  i literally just 5 min ago realized there is a name to this.  sometimes i forget to wipe the dandruff away on my phone and my mom says what is that and im like oops just dust.  and she buys it. no one knows is have an addiction and im scared to tel anyone.  i like to keep it in little piles and pick off the scabs-eww gross i know. but i also love looking at the commercials for dandruff shampoos and watch the microscopic dandruff on the tiny hairs on the pink scalp. idk what it is its so weird.  i think u can stop it by wearing hats or gloves often, clip ur nails, although i still find a way to pick.  u should tell a doctor-i havent yet cause i didnt know it was bad 4 me.  i hope u have some ideas.
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hi i've had the same problem since in like 4th grade. i used to be kinda a loser at school but its ok cause im not now but i would feel so self concious like for example this kid would always call me a chunky monkey or fatsoe, admit it, u just laughed, but i wasnt that obese. the kid who was calling me fat was like 60 pounds at that time and i was 62 and apparently thats obese and now even thought im popular(not trying to brag)i still pull my hair away
and then i scratch my scalp over my phone or my kindle or my black sweatshirt.  my hair is really thick so i havent noticed any balding yet but its yet to be noticed.  i literally just 5 min ago realized there is a name to this.  sometimes i forget to wipe the dandruff away on my phone and my mom says what is that and im like oops just dust.  and she buys it. no one knows is have an addiction and im scared to tel anyone.  i like to keep it in little piles and pick off the scabs-eww gross i know. but i also love looking at the commercials for dandruff shampoos and watch the microscopic dandruff on the tiny hairs on the pink scalp. idk what it is its so weird.  i think u can stop it by wearing hats or gloves often, clip ur nails, although i still find a way to pick.  u should tell a doctor-i havent yet cause i didnt know it was bad 4 me.  i hope u have some ideas.
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im picking as i read these comments and they im collecting it into little piles-i know, really gross. i recently learned there was a name 4 this and im scared. like really scared. i dont wanna be bald!!!!!!!!!! i NEED HELP! LIKE PRO HELP!
none of my family or ANYONE knows i have dermotellimonia or whatever and im just annoyed.  i like to split my hair apart and then start picking and it falls down like snow.  i love the feeling of it.  i love it. i cant stop. and i try, im like screw it i can pick now i will stop tomorow. i say this everyday. -.-
could someone plz suggest some things to help me?!?!?!? I NEED IT thanks.
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You are not alone...I'm so happy you told your whole story...it is mine, too. I will be 70 & have had this habit for 30 plus years. Scratch, pick, get it out from under my nails with my mouth...it makes me sick to have admitted that, but it's true. Thank you, brave soul...I'm proud of you and now me. We've got to stop, but how?
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I thought I was the only one.... wow. I am 29 years old and have been picking for years now and like a lot of people, I feel that it stems from anxiety, lack of control,  and is a form of OCD. I've tried to stop but it's been impossible. I guess I've been in denial for some time about this...
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I am 56 yo female, picking since 2008. Been to doctors,  psychiatrists, dermatologists, therapists. I've tried the following:
Ketoconazole cream and shampoo
Betametasone
Tetracycline
Benadryl ointment
Antibiotic ointment
Anti – Itch over the counter ointment (cortizone 10)
Iodine
Lemon juice
Vinegar (apple cider) *
Peroxide
Alcohol
Calamine lotion
Garlic (crushed)
Wheatgrass
Milk of Magnesia *
Head and Shoulders
T-Gel shampoo
Selsum Blue shampoo
Organic shampoo
raw, organic coconut oil
vitamin E oil
Eucerin Aquaphor
Aveda clay masque
raw pumpkin seed oil


Cognitive Distractions

Crochet and knitting
Bubble wrap bursting
Hats and scarves on the head
Gloves on the hands
short finger nails

I cut my long hair into a boy's cut and stopped coloring it.

Nothing above cured my condition. The asterisks indicate solutions that soothed and caused improvement. However, even if I left my scalp alone for 23 hours and 55 seconds, it takes me 5 seconds to undue the success and be right back to square one. The cycle is discouraging.

I currently take cymbalta for depression. I am planning to request a change in medication and try Anafranil (Clomipramine.) This drug treats OCD and depression.

One time I went on a juice fast and quit coffee. My scalp cleared up completely. I suspect if I quit coffee my scalp will heal. I am addicted to my morning coffee.
Good luck to all.
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I feel guilty that I find pleasure from finding a scab on my head so that I could dig and pick to point of bleeding. I worry that I will lose my hair. I do this without noticing and sometimes my daughter will snap at me and says stopicking. I don't think my family realizes how bad this gotten because there are times that I am just waiting for the opportunity when I know they are not looking. I hate that my head stings afterward but I can't stop until I feel blood. I am now worried there is something wrong with me. I just started doing this a year now. I don't know if it has anything to do with a trauma I went through.
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I am three days without picking...a minor miracle since I've been picking my scalp since 2008.  My psychiatrist gave me NALTREXONE 50mg for something else and it has relieved me of my compulsion to pick. I'm almost afraid to believe it until the scabs come off on their own and my hair grows back.
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See my latest post.
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Wow, there are people like me out there! I thought I was the only freak. I always ask myself why I do this. I pick and remove the scalp. Right now I cant stand my head, its a bit stingy from the scalp picking. I do think its anxiety or stress. I suffer from both I think and I am not good at concentrating. I pick when im driving, watching tv, sitting at my desk. I think people might think I have lice lol. Anyway, im gonna try to find out why and what I can do to stop. I think at 30 and picking since I was 8 is already getting to me. I think I do need help because now im starting to pick my face. . I hope you all find ways to stop hurting yourselves and get some help.
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Wow, there are people like me out there! I thought I was the only freak. I always ask myself why I do this. I pick and remove the scalp. Right now I cant stand my head, its a bit stingy from the scalp picking. I do think its anxiety or stress. I suffer from both I think and I am not good at concentrating. I pick when im driving, watching tv, sitting at my desk. I think people might think I have lice lol. Anyway, im gonna try to find out why and what I can do to stop. I think at 30 and picking since I was 8 is already getting to me. I think I do need help because now im starting to pick my face. . I hope you all find ways to stop hurting yourselves and get some help.
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I certainly reward (compliment, praise) you on all your implementation to try to stop your skin gouging. I do it too and will try some of your techniques. All the Best to you in your endeavor!
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I find that it helps to wear a hat like a beret or something similar or to cross my pointer finger and long(est) finger or to wear gloves or those booties they give you in a hospital or clinic for your feet (but wear them on your hand(s.)
I often pick the wounds on my scalp or scratch my head when I'm reading or otherwise sedentary and these things help.
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Please be safe if you are using something sharp.  I am a picker as well.. I admit it.. my therapist pointed that out today..  lol
I guess its just a nervous habit.  
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It's called Dermatillamania. I thought it was from coloring my hair too much, but it's only on the crown of my head. My doctor told me to use Nizoral shampoo everyday for 2 weeks. Sorry, can't wash my hair every day, my hair was falling out from under active thyroid, then this. I've always had beautiful long hair, but it was thinning. After my thyroid med. kicked in, takes about 6 months, I could tell my hair was getting thicker and fuller again. I still have the compulsion to pick, I find myself even doing it in public, and stop.  My two best friends at work fuss at me to stop when they see me. Take Prozac and Chlnazapam  for years. I did take up knitting, but that was just for pleasure not to keep me hands busy. I just can't stop. I feel their getting well and I start all over. But what made it start in the first place? Hair color?
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Excellent suggestions that are behavior oriented to support success! I'm a licensed therapist and have a teenager who picks at their head often.  They are a high achieving student and involved in numerous extracurricular activities.  It appears stress related.  Anyone who knows how talented & determined they are would say "well of course, they have so much on their mind".

Super job on developing a program which helped you address this type of coping mechanism in a manner that worked.  I love that you shared useful, doable ideas on this site as people could leave this blog feeling "well, gosh...how am I ever going to stop this?" With your input, it shows that it's POSSIBLE to curtail picking one's scalp.  Blessings to you~
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Beautiful, heartfelt reply.  As a mother of a teenager who picks their scalp and a therapist, I have to say I'm really impressed with what you suggested.  I'm actually going to gently introduce your meditative conceptual framework.  It's a place I come from though I have to admit I do get irritated by the picking at times which I know actually can worsen anxiety & escalate the behavior.  So, THANK YOU for sharing gentle and respectful solutions that are about true HEALING!  Blessings to you!
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I have done this for years, and it got really bad a few years back when my depression got very bad and i reached an all time low..... I would sit and pick away at my head, where I believed it would not be seen, even as i sit and type this from my desk, i do so one handed, while the other sits and picks away at the little patches on my head.

I know that this is getting worse but no matter what I try I can not seem to break the compulsion to have a pick at my head, I have scared my scalp and even now have scars on my forehead, regardless the urge to pick still remains.

It gets worse in times of stress and well am sure as most  people on here in bad times of anxiety attacks, the picking helps me zone out and for that little time provides a relief.... crazy as it sounds.

I have tried many different things, the elastic band round my wrist, ways of keeping my hands busy, but always manage to complete the tasks one handed so I can keep one free.
I have other little compulsions but this one seems to be the worst.... though it is a little better to know i am not alone!
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