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addicted to plucking hair and picking scalp
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addicted to plucking hair and picking scalp

I am a 48 yr old female who has been obsessively tweezing hair from my face and neck and also picking and scratching my scalp for over 30 yrs. For the majority of the time i enjoyed it immensely and would pluck hair on my face that didnt "feel" right or was in places i didnt want it to be and also would scrape my scalp with my nails looking for any crust to pick at. As a result of doing this for so long i have thick black hairs growing on my upper lip, chin and neck and also have thinner dark hairs growing on my cheeks. Now i HAVE to pluck.. I am embarrassed by the hairs so i am constantly in the bathroom checking for hairs or feeling for hairs that need to be removed. I am married and never want my husband to know i have these disgusting dark hairs growing all over my face. I cant go anywhere for more than short day events out of fear that hair will pop up and people will see them. I use many different types of tweezers, have several different mirrors and even light sources to illuminate my face and neck so i dont miss any hairs. I am disabled ( i have multiple autoimmune disorders, polyneuropathies,thyroid disorder,fibromyalgia, arthritis,hypertension etc) and am home alone alot so i will spend hours searching for hairs and plucking until my hands, wrists, arms, shoulders etc hurt so bad i can barely use them afterwards. i have psoriasis on my scalp and have been embarrassed about that also, so i spend hours running my fingernails over my scalp feeling for anything to pick or scrape off.. eventually my scalp bleeds and causes more crusting and scabbing.. its an endless cycle with both habits.. i have thought about using other hair removal methods but cannot bear the idea of letting the hairs grow long enough to use those methods. I feel like my life revolves around these habits and am so sick of them both but at this point i cant stop.. I cant leave the hair to grow.. I constantly touch my face searching for hairs and cant suppress the urge to get the hair off.. No one is allowed to touch my face, even my husband which makes me feel bad.. I also feel like i am hiding this behavior from my husband and feel guilty about it. What can i do to stop these behaviors without letting the hair grow and show.. I am tired of it and waste way too much time on it. Help !!  
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Life is correct in that you need to redirect your spare time so do give that some thought.  Also, as you said these are habits and good news for you, habits can be broken.  For the hair, I would suggest trying that NoNo product.  I don't own one myself but I'm thinking about getting it.  This way you can put the tweezers away and eliminate the time you are spending each day dealing with the hairs on your face and you can do it in the privacy of your own home.

As for the scalp picking, you probably don't even realize you are doing it most of the time.  One young girl said on the forum that she used to sit on her hands to stop the picking.  The things that I have suggested are to wear a hat and/or socks on your hands for a while.  You can't pick if you cannot get to it.  Sort of akin to putting bitter apple on kids fingers to stop the thumb sucking.  

For both situations, you need to become self aware of when you are doing things and pull your hands away.  Self-coaching will go a long way here as well.  You need to say NO MORE and then occupy your mind and hands with a different task.  It is not going to stop overnight but think of little steps here.  A day without hair plucking or scab picking is a step in the right direction.  From there two days, and so on.  

11 Comments Post a Comment
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3149845_tn?1414182164
Hi Sus, you need to go to a professional hair removal studio. Pretty easy thing and once removed will be permanent.
Also you seem to be looking for something to do as have alot of spare time. Try taking up some of the arts, like writing a book on your experiences with your different illnessess. Many people would buy your book who also suffer from the same thing. Write how you cope with them.  You could make a lot of money doing this and now you can sell a book on the web called ebooks.
Take this free time and and use it to your advantage. Come up with a simple product idea like all those you see on TV for $19.95. also very easy to do, im doing it now, its fun, exciting and making good money.
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Life is correct in that you need to redirect your spare time so do give that some thought.  Also, as you said these are habits and good news for you, habits can be broken.  For the hair, I would suggest trying that NoNo product.  I don't own one myself but I'm thinking about getting it.  This way you can put the tweezers away and eliminate the time you are spending each day dealing with the hairs on your face and you can do it in the privacy of your own home.

As for the scalp picking, you probably don't even realize you are doing it most of the time.  One young girl said on the forum that she used to sit on her hands to stop the picking.  The things that I have suggested are to wear a hat and/or socks on your hands for a while.  You can't pick if you cannot get to it.  Sort of akin to putting bitter apple on kids fingers to stop the thumb sucking.  

For both situations, you need to become self aware of when you are doing things and pull your hands away.  Self-coaching will go a long way here as well.  You need to say NO MORE and then occupy your mind and hands with a different task.  It is not going to stop overnight but think of little steps here.  A day without hair plucking or scab picking is a step in the right direction.  From there two days, and so on.  

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Avatar_f_tn
thanks for the suggestions.. one thing i didnt mention is that i actually avoid washing my hair for days at a time so there will be something to scrape and pick.. i do know im doing it most of the time and actually plan in advance so i can do it.. i have alot of anxiety and i have severe neuropathy that hurts so bad i cant sleep and spend hours and hours at night unable to sleep.. i use the picking and scraping of my scalp to ease my anxiety and distract myself from the constant burning pain i have in both of my legs..i have a history of severe sexual and physical abuse as a child/teen. ive been through alot of trauma in my life , been a self mutilator in the past and have had alot of therapy too. i was a successful veterinary technician and worked with critically ill animals for 16 yrs.. it saved my life and gave me a purpose and made me feel like i was making a difference everyday.. 2 yrs ago i had to stop working because of my health issues and my life is so unrewarding and lonely now.. i cant drive or even walk in the grocery store so i have no life outside of home.. i have 4 dogs, 3 cats and 2 rats that i love immensely ( they are all rescues ) and get great joy from. i think my behaviors are a kind of self punishment sometimes. I would like to know if others have similar pasts and have these behaviors and stopped.
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1699033_tn?1405352675
I'm sure you are on meds for your other health issues but are you on something for the anxiety?  Is your health being managed by a Pain Management Doctor?  
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Avatar_f_tn
yes.. i am a patient at a pain management clinic.. they are really great.. the neuropathy pain is very difficult to treat unfortunately.. i am taking effexor for the neuropathy and anxiety but it isnt helping as much as i would have liked..i was on cymbalta briefly but insurance doesnt cover the expense as much as for effexor
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Have you learned CBT?  I think you would benefit from the book The OCD Workbook:  Your Guide to Breaking Free of OCD.  
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Avatar_f_tn
i was hospitalized multiple times back in the early 90's after a brief psychotic break and bout of extreme self mutilation. once they got the right meds and doses i did do cognitive behavioral therapy. at that time they diagnosed me with PTSD from all the chldhood trauma and sexual abuse i had endured for 13 yrs along with the physical abuse as a child, teen and unfortunately.as an adult woman. They also diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder, chronic depression and OCD.  i was medicated heavily but at least safe from the self harm. Once i had stabilized and was doing well in therapy i decided to go back to school and become a veterinry technician. Having classes to focus on helped the disorders started to diminish. i eventually weaned myself off all the meds and after i graduated school i worked in a specialty hopital.. i fell in love with the work.. it gave me such a good feeling everyday. Having to give up my carreer after 16 yrs was very hard. but i was in and out of the hospital for a massive GI bleed ( nsaids and dehydration along with a massive dose of stress) and 6 bouts of kidney stones with full obstruction.  thats when the behaviors got much worse. even in the hospital i had my tweezers and magnified mirror.since then things have spiraled out of control even more..the urge to clean obssessively even when i could barely stand or walk.i started focusing on making things very orderly. rugs had to be perfectly aligned, the dishwasher needs to be loaded a particular way so if my husband loads it i go right behind him and reload it.the "right" way. I also have this odd issue that is very bothersome. my husband and i have a california king bed mostly because we are both over 6 ft tall but also because we usually have at least 3 dogs and 2 or 3 cats in bed with us, i cannot relax and go to sleep unless there are no bits of sand, pilling of the fabric etc.. i am constantly rubbing my sheets down or unmaking the bed and shaking the sheets back out before they go back on the bed. the same thinking applies to the rugs, sofa, and kitchen counters.. i just cant seem to tolerate any crumbs or imperfections in the fabric.. i wll focus on it until it gets fixed, My husband jokingly refers to me me as Kate.. ie; Kate Gosling from John and Kate plus 8. i dont wear socks unless its an absolute requirement.. also shoes.. i only wear slippers or go barefoot 24/7. i feel like others must think of me as a real nutbag..that makes me sad..i just want to closer to normal.
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Avatar_f_tn
i will definetly look for that book !
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Avatar_f_tn
thank you so much for sharing you insights and experience.. i went to see my husbands counselor this past week and also saw my NP. they decided to put me on a low dose of clonopin te relieve the anxiety and help me sleep. we also discussed me getting a motorized chair so i can regain my freedom and not require my husband to push me around like im some kind of invalid. we dont have much money since i havent been working for the last 2 yrs,  ive also decided to finally get a lawyer and apply for SSD.I have found a few chairs for less than 700 dollars and emailed the sellers to see if they would be willing to reduce the cost and write off the financial loss on their taxes and also know they would be bringing happiness and more importantly independence to a very grateful woman.. so, now i will wait and see if God and one of these complete strangers will enswer my prayer.
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I'm glad you saw somebody.  I take klonopin myself and it does work well since it lasts longer in the system.  Also I'm glad that you have decided to find a way to get out and about again.  SSD is hard to get and I know it is a long wait but have faith and hopefully all will go the way you need it to.  Not sure if the Scooter Store can help you or not or if it is only for people on Medicaid/Medicare.  But worth checking into.  
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Avatar_f_tn
the clonopin is helping alot.. its funny this started out with me talking about my hair plucking and has ended up being more about my physical health. Last night i bent over incorrectly and threw my back out. i have several herniated discs in my lumbar region. The neuropathy pain has increased much more. the pain clinic doctor did prescribe a cream for the neuropathy but it had to be compounded then shipped. it is a mixture of amitryptiline, gabapentin, ketoprofen and lidocaine. i got it a few days ago and it does seem to help.. it doesnt take it away but it does dull it some. unfortunately even with insurance my cost is 55 dollars. at this point my medications cost over 500.00 a month. my husband never complains but i know it is a huge financial burden.
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