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Avatar universal

scab picking

I am amazed & a little relieved to see so many people suffering from the same condition (compulsive scab picking on scalp).  I can go way back in my childhood & see where the "picking" started & how it brought me comfort. I usually contentrate on my scalp (I also have psoriasis, does any one else?) This is how the scabs originate & then I just can't leave them alone.  Now, to even get more honest (and unfortunately grosser) I also pick my nose & eat the scabs & boogers.  This is so disgusting, I know it must seem like a gag memo, but it's not.  I have never admitted this out loud (or typed) before in my life.  I am a 42 year old woman: married, mother of teen-age daughter, successful, seemingly well-adjusted & moderately over-weight (about 30 pounds) but still very attractive---what gives???

I have never gone to therapy & I could never admit this to any one any way.  I am considering joining Overeaters Anonymous because I am also a compulsive overeater & I think this disgusting habit somehow ties in.  Is it an eating disorder of some sort?  An obsessive-compulsive disorder?  What do you think?
5 Responses
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Dear Lydia,

Your question would probably best be addressed to the Mental Health Forum of MedHelp, since our focus is on childhood conditions. And the same behaviors in adults and children can represent different things.

Having said that, you might seek out a consultation. It appears that different conditions are probably existing alongside each other. The possibility of Eating D/O and OCD is a strong one. The behaviors you describe can improve via two courses: congitive-behavior therapy and pharmacological treatment. In addition, self-help programs (such as OA) can be very effective. One aspect of an evaluation will be to determine if you display symptoms of a Mood D/O, one symptom of which can be overeating.
Avatar universal
I am so glad to read Lydia's message.  I suffer from EXACTLY the same thing she is describing.  She sounds so much like me, except older (I am 22 years old).  I have also been moderately overweight (20-30 pounds) all my life, although I recently seem to be uncontrollably gaining huge amounts of weight (75 lbs in 1 year!).  My problem also started in childhood, around age 6 or 7.  I have been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder and am taking Celexa, but it doesn't seem to help.  I have been unable to find much information or advice on this topic.  I know the doctor suggested searching elsewhere since the focus here is children, but I just had to reply!  Thank you for being so honest, Lydia.  It is nice to know I am not alone!
Avatar universal
I'm so glad to see your posting.  In fact, I found this forum by typing in compulsive scab picking.  I'm a 35 year old women and started on my legs when I was a child.  It eventually started on my face and has been there ever since.  I have mild acne but it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't pick.  I'm an educated mother of two beautiful daughters, I run on a regular basis.  My husband is a respected officer in a local company.  What is wrong with me?  I just went to a therapist and they put me on Celexa.  It's only been two weeks but I am hoping for improvement.  If you would like to start a support group -- I'm in.  Thanks for your posting, I'm glad I'm not the only one!!  You can e-mail me at ***@****
Avatar universal
Hello Lydia,
I'm 22 and I have the same problem. All of it. Even the compulsive eating. I am in therapy and I do take meds now. While the behavior is less frequent and severe, it is not gone.
You'd be surprised how many people pick their scabs or their nose. It's not so uncommon, but it is, unfortunately, unsanitary!
As for the other part...well, I'll admit to it, but most won't.
The only time the scabs completely healed was when I got sculpted nails. They were too thick and dull (not sharp) so they couldn't scrape the skin. But they are a pain in the neck to maintain. What to do? Relax. Realize when you're doing it and what you are feeling at the time. And do something else when the urge arises. When I just have to pick, however, I will sometimes go into the bathroom so that I can do it without anyone seeing, and make sure I don't go crazy on my poor scalp!
Managing the itching plays a key role, but since stress triggers itching/psoriasis flare-ups, the thing to do is alleviate the anxiety and stress causing the flare-ups.
Avatar universal
I am so glad to see others who have the same problem, and that there is a reason for it!  I have had an obsessive need to pick my scalp off and on for years, since I was a child, and will also pick at my face and neck, which has left scarring.  I have felt like a freak because of this, even though I appear normal in every other way - I am 32, married to a successful techie, 4 kids, great career, reasonably attractive and have modeled in the past.  I tend to battle my weight, and once was about 60 pounds overweight, but have kept within 10-15 pounds of my ideal weight for 15 years.  I also have been diagnosed with depression, and am currently on Zoloft.  I lost my father and had a miscarriage within the past year, and it seems as if the picking has become more intense, and I can't seem to stop.  I am too embarrassed to go to my doctor about it, and my husband has asked me not to pick at my neck and face because he sees the damage it does; he does not know about me picking my scalp.  Does anyone know if Zoloft might help?  Or should I seek a different treatment from my doctor?
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