Oh my lord. Y'all, I feel like I've come home. Lol. I was just sitting here staring off into space picking away. And the thought came to me...hey, google it and see if you're the only scalp picker out there. And lo and behold here popped this thread. I read a good 30 comments or so and am in shock. We are all the same! I too suffer from panic disorder, major depressive disorder and agoraphobia. I have picked my head for as long as I can remember. I am now 29. My mother always used to freak out and yell at me to stop, but I never could. It isn't something I consciously do, my hand just goes to my head without thinking about it. I get the same satisfaction some of you were talking about when picking off the scabs. I try to peel them as big as possible, and will even look at them to see how big they are at times. The bigger the better I feel. If I make one bleed it takes about a whole day before it will dry up to be picked again, so in the meantime, I move to a different spot. There are times I will search my head with my fingers and be so bummed because I don't feel a spot where I can pick, so I dig my nail into my scalp to peel something up. Man, I have never actually talked about this, and as I am writing I just feel like such a weirdo! At least I have solace in knowing there are SO many of you who are the same as me. So here's to us pickers lol, Cheers!
I forgot to mention I also have sebbhoric dermatitis....which makes the skin on my scalp, eyebrows and nose flaky and peely....so this only adds to my obsession. Makes it that much easier to pick
I found this thread and thought oh well, it's old and I kept going and this thread has been active for atleast 2-3 years. I'm 57 and started picking my scalp about 2 years ago when I was diagnosed with psoriasis. I'm still picking and I have the most sore spot I've had yet. The spots get infected and my lymph node on neck,same side gets swollen and hurts. I just can't seem to leave it alone.
Oh man! So I am 23 and I have been picking my scalp for as long as I can remember. I have really bad dandruff so when it gets flaky it only makes it easier for me to pick and then they end up becoming inflamed and usually ends up bleeding. Sometimes I cannot help it, and I usually do it when I'm bored or stressed or anxious. I also suffer from anxiety attacks and on a current medication for it. It's embarrassing and effects my life sometimes because I end up with flakes on my head and I have long dark hair so you can imagine how that looks ;( any ideas or suggestions ? Thanks!
This is so funny!!!!! I have been doing this. Mainly when I should be sound asleep. For me, I fully believe it is related to stress. I take anti depressants and anti anxiety meds too. Then things quiet down and I stop picking I g. I have also heard about access to brain fluid. But not in this way. Way way too scarey. I have recently started using tea tree to help with bacterial, I add lavender to. I want to do more research for oils as well. Then after that I massage cocoanut oil into my scalp. As much as it takes a second as much as I remember to do. Cutting finger nails sounds going on the right path too. Wrapping your head for 15 -20 minutes before shampooing is also somethimg to look to do, it is a natural skin care condition treatment. Most shampoos have "Ammonium Laureth Sulfate" which is really aggressive to your scalp. I don't believe my issue is medical except for depression and ainxiety most of what I suggested really cannot hurt though. which I already have a doctor.
I thought i was the only one who did this, I have my scalp looking horrible, I have a script for prozac filled but haven't started yet, I also take clonazepam. I hope it helps, I try to not pick it, but I get so much pleasure from picking the scabs off, I know some of it is self control, but I can't control myself. Anyone had any success with prozac helping? I know I have OCD that is what is making me do this, plus I have OCD about other things too.
I pick my scalp excessively too, I also bite my nails to the quick, I don't have cuticles left. My fingers are all scabbed around them too. I am huge mess.I am still able to pick scabs on my scalp even with no nails. I am helpless it seems, I just got a script for prozac filed but I've put off starting it. I hope it helps and I wish you luck too!
It seems from this thread that most of us are also on medication for mental health so perhaps if we could improve our mental health the head scratching would improve or could the medications be causing it perhaps. My scratching started when I first went on medication for my mental health when I was 20.
Hey guys I have been do this for a very long time. And reading and learning etc.. I went to free and clear shampoo and conditioner. I reduced the of sores a lot. Fragrances can cause allergies.
I know that I have a picking issues.. I feel like I am cleaning. If I pick one of my husbands pimples...again I am getting him clean.. something like that. Lately, I have noticed that picking my head arouses me...not every time but some of the times. I have all so notice that if I massage a chronically sore place on my back
the same. I am wondering if pain and pleasure circuits are closely related. if you know what I mean.
I think you should go to a dermatologist
Im shocking for this. Nil meds or mental health probs. My hairline is horrid. I have a fringe to cover. Very reluctant and embarrassed to go to a salon. It drives my family mad. But I cant stop.
It's called Dermatillomania and is related to Trichotillomania. Www.trich.org. It's an OCD. You need to find a psychologist who is an expert in this field
okay i've had problems regarding picking my hair/ scalp for nearly 10 years, picking my scalp being the main thing i do, i had to cut nearly a foot of my hair off due to always picking the split and damaged ends. i'm almost sixteen, and i'm quite young and scared of what's going to happen to me in the future. i don't pick my scalp for self harm, or to the point where i'm really bleeding, but it is affecting my self esteem and image. i plan on telling my doctor and parents about it, despite being incredibly terrified. is there anything to be afraid of? will i be given medication? i'm not really harming myself by doing it but i do want to stop picking and have a healthy scalp again.
Just like many of you I thought i was the only one to do this. Weird to see people describing EXACTLY the feelings I've had for so long -- the weird satisfaction etc. Glad to know there are techniques I can use to stop doing it. I don't really like that I willingly hurt myself. It seems to me it's more of an absentminded boredom thing. I do it mostly when I'm reading. Must be some kind of self-soothing thing. I"m on no meds nor have I ever considered myself symptomatic but recently wonder if I'm moderately depressed. Definitely this picking is OCD! which is hilarious to me because I always tell my husband HE's OCD! (he's a neatnik; I'm not). Thank you all for sharing your stories -- this has helped me a LOT.
I started picking my scalp when i was about 10. i'm 57 n have had a few weeks maybe 3 times in my life when i had no scabs. it gives me a lot of pleasure, even tho if i gouge too hard it hurts really bad. i have 5 scabs at the moment. it usually only takes about an hour after picking, then i have a new scab. i love to examine them n if i drop one n lose it, it makes me mad. i also eat them. i know, gross...n congrats to the few who also admitted to eating them. i kinda want to stop, but sometimes i dob't want to stop. i usually do it more with stress n boredom. someone mentioned foot itching powder helped. i don't have that, but i have gold bond medicated powder. i will try that. at least i won't eat them with that on it
Im not exactly what you would call a scalp picker but for the past few years, I've constantly rubbed certain parts of my scalp while in deep concentration or boredom. It;s more of an absent mindedness thing than stress related, although I feel like I do it more when upset. Ill keep rubbing the same spot over and over with one finger until the scalp gets so sore it almost bleeds, or until my arm gets numb or starts hurting. Then ill just start on the other side with my other hand! I;ve always rubbed my scalp since I was a kid (Im 24 now) but since I started graduate school and was put on Vyvanse, it has made it 100x worse. I also did it a lot more often in early college when I was on phentermine for weight loss. Its something I absolutely CANNOT make myself stop doing. I;ll have people in the room tell me to stop and I will for less than a minute but go right back to doing it. BUT I am ordering something I saw online called Pavlok. It;s basically a shock bracelet, but can either alert or give you a mild shock when it senses you are doing something or when you ask it to shock you. The reviews say a lot about how it;s helped with nail biting or hair pulling. It seems pretty harsh but Im desperate to not have bald spots anymore!
Lately I have been using pure peppermint from the health food store. I put some on my fingertips and rub into my scalp after washing and conditioning. It relieves the itching, tingles and soothes. I, too, am a nervous Nelly and OD.
I'm guilty of this too. It starts with just a normal itchy scalp for whatever reason...a tickling loose hair, dandruff or whatever. I have really oily hair and always want to run my fingers through to get it all off.
I know this isn't exactly an option for you ladies, but what solved it for me is to pretty much start from SCRATCH (har har). In the summer I just shave my head bald. I rub the hell out of my head afterwards and notice all the dried skin buildup and scabs and crap. I get some good oils and etc etc and just massage my head with the time is typically pick the hell out of it. R helps because there's no loose hair neusance, there's no dandruff, and I can actually see the scabs and damage and let them heal. Once my scalps treated like this I can come to grips with refreshing with proper hygiene and routine brushing and etc. when I have long hair I guess it just drives me mad. I hate loose hair and dandruff and crap.
For you girls, something this helps me not post as much is make a conscious effort to use the palms of my fingers instead. Run my fingers through my hair like a comb and only agitate my scalp. It soothes the itchiness and clears out some of the dander. My head gets itchy just thinking about it. Hold on **Szch szch szch***
I've been picking my scalp since I was 12 years old and I am now 62. Depressing, isn't it? I've stopped for a few years at a time but always get back at it. At time I've realized that I have been keeping the same scab going for at least a year! I enjoy looking at them in the mirror. The bloodier the better. I do have OCD, I was diagnosed with a mild for of OCD years ago, but I think its getting worse. For example, I have to reload the dishwasher to my way of doing it if anyone else messes it up, which is not usually the case because I do the cooking and clean up afterwards, but others might put something in it during the day. I freak out when things aren't done the way I think they should be done. I have a ton of stress, caring for my mom, living with her and my brother and his wife. We are all disabled. I shouldn't be caring for my mom, I don't have the stamina and I am in a great deal of pain. I started caring for my dad but that was killing me, then he fell and broke his hip and is now in a nursing home. It was a natural change to just caring for my mom, which gets harder all the time. I have money problems, legal problems, etc, etc. Its all too much. I want to quit picking so much, it makes me cry and only adds to my stress. My head hurts, I'm afraid people will see the sores. I put antibiotic ointment on the sores at night and a dab of medicated powder to cover them during the day, to make them less visible. It works good. I'm certain I'll feel healthier and more positive if I could just quit. I can start to quit, but then that urge is so great to pick.
Me too. I won't go to the hairdresser with bumps on my head. It takes months to clear it up if I can, then I might go. But my hair is long and I usually cut it myself. It would be nice to have it styled or layered though. Its so hard. Maybe if I can clear my head up I should reward myself with a nice layered cut! That's a great idea. Maybe in time for summer.
I do the same thing. I will try to stop doing it for a few days so it's not so painful when I dye my hair but it still hurts. Right now, my whole scalp is radiating with pain bc I'm really stressed. I feel gross because I'm always brushing off the dry skin from my shoulders. I even notice it collects in my bra sometimes. It's hard. I don't compulsively snack, I started vaping and quit smoking 2 years ago. But I can't seem to keep myself from doing some habit or another 24/7. I think the oils are a great idea and I'm going to try that. Maybe it will help smooth the parts i like to scratch and I won't get relief from scratching anymore.
im having a little bit of success by wrapping my head in bandages and wearing a headscarf over it-they healed a little bit
ithink this ghastly headscratching is a form of obsessivecompulsive disorder for me anyway as ive got that in other ways too
I 16 and I pick my scalp like this, but the think is I dont itch much, my head doesent feel itchy. Usually I just feel crawly. Even after showers I can pick. And with no ******* dandruff to pick at, I get very frustrated. THERES NOTHING TO PICK AT I CANT GET MY DAILY FIX UHG
Dear friend, I have the same exact problem. This effects my life and tried to control this. Can you give me any advice at all? I feel like I can't heal this problem by myself. Any suggestines would be so grateful.Please email me at ***@****. If not, I am so happy that I found someone with the same problem that I have. Thankyou Chrystyne ***@****
I am 32 and started picking about 4 years ago, right around the time I started having panic attacks. It progressed to panic disorder with agoraphobia. I was embarrassed for awhile and I know that seems to be the consensus on this blog too. I used to be afraid of my panic disorder too but in therapy my doctor instilled in me that these are issues that need to be dealt with obviously but that I shouldn't try to hide my issues because that causes more stress and worsens the problem. I left my old company where my panic disorder was looked at as a weakness and not a medical condition and now I work at a company where I feel comfortable explaining to people that I have disorders, I'm working on them, and that I can still function. The more people I share my story with, the more empowered I feel. It reinforces the idea to not be ashamed. With the picking, my friends know, my family knows, and my hairdresser knows (she sees the scabs when I come in). I haven't told my therapist yet but I plan to next week when I see her so that I can start working on it. Unfortunately I really love picking my scalp when I am bored or stressed and I feel like it's going to be hard but Some episodes of picking literally leave my hair matted with blood. My lymph nodes are swollen so I know it is causing infection. I hope those who have posted on here or read this are able to get the assistance they need, but do not be ashamed. It's a mental health issue that needs to be addressed just like a broken leg needs to be mended. You wouldn't tell someone with a broken leg to walk it off. So good luck, I hope my post makes you feel at least a little better. Know that you are not alone!
i wanted to thank everyone that has said something because i am having a hard time quitting. it feels like such a relief to read others comments because i feel like not one person understands how embarrassing it is to be picking my head and i cant do anything over it. I feel like people dont understand that i dont want to pick. I understand that it sounds so strange but it feels like i need to pick. If anyone has anything that will help, anything would be appreciated.
Hi I am 32 and struggle with OCD,anxiety issues. I had a few questions and wanted to offer a possible solution that has helped me. Acrylic nails. It is not at all a total solution, but because the tips are thicker than natural nails I can't do as much damage. I still compulsively touch my scalp and eventually it becomes less and less, however the compulsion never goes 100% away. I usually begin to focus my picking to removing the acrylic nails. One bad habit for another. ;-)
Unfortunately, I can not afford to pay for acrylic nails all the time. Over the past 6 months I have created bald spots and actual divots in my scalp. I am waking up picking with blood under my nails. My head hurts so bad without anyone even touching it. I have chronically swollen lymph nodes so I'm worried about an infection. Has anyone tried liquid bandaid on their scalp???
I used it on my hand for a scrape and it made it rather difficult to pick at. I can't feel where the liquid bandaid is do it would be even more difficult to pick off my scalp. I have taken Lexapro in the past, recently switched to Luvox. I think the Lexapro works better for me. Has anyone else had success with medicine? Thanks for any advice!!!
I just googled this subject to see if i could find anything out, and i have done. I have read through many of these comments and i'm actually genuinely relieved that i'm not the only one who does this. It's only my scalp that i pick and i've been doing it ever since i was twelve years of age. I would just be in a lesson and would search through my hair with my hand for any little bumps or scabs and i would pick them, or try anyway. This became a terrible habit of mine and i would pick whenever i had the opportunity. My family noticed and my brother actually started to tease me and was saying my head was invested in lice. Many people are saying it is due to anxiety, and actually i do have anxiety myself but i'm not sure. I'm scared. I feel like i'm losing my hair and it scares me.. Someone help me?
I've been taking lexapro for about a year now and have found that i didn't start having this problem until i started taking it, i believe that it is because anymore serious ticks and anxiety was controlled a lot more with the lexapro however i have found that i have began picking so much more and am now starting to create scabs and have even, at the worst of times purposely spilt rock salt onto my scalp, just so i have an excuse to pick the bits out.
I'be been picking since I can remember! Im 35 and still picking. I do not have dandruff. I believe it started from brushing my mothers hair as a child to relieve her sinus headaches. She had dandruff from coloring her hair and Id pick it out so her hair would be perfect ( I was a child so in a childs mind). Well needless to say, I still pick. Never on my own head but I do pick my husbands. As a teenager I use to take elmers glue and cover my hand and let it dry to pick it off. I have been embarrassed of this my entire life and only my mother and husband know about this so it is awesome to know that Im not the only one out there!!! My husband has sever dandruff and he actually enjoys me picking his head as I enjoy doing it, it calms me down for some reason. It took me a 6 months after we got married to admit to him that I had been dying to pick his head. He didnt freak out and wanted me to, so a win win. Its not compulsive or like I have to do it nor a habit but I do enjoy picking. Its about twice a week I will pick my husbands head and only when he asks me to. He says its calming to him also. Took me a long time to admit to him that I enjoyed picking dandruff. I dont know what you would call it? A disorder of some sort, Anxiety or OCD. But thank you for sharing your stories! Ive read where its self picking so I thought Id share my story to where I dont pick on myself but on someone else! So thank you and also please wash you hands before you start picking and I find you use tweezers clean them so you dont get any kind of infection where you are picking!!
I have been reading these comments for a while now and am 1. relieved I am not alone and 2. am so impressed with the amount of support this blog/community has given to one other and 3. wanted to share some information that I found.
Research Dermatillomani (aka Excoriation Disorder). This may be the closest thing to an answer as to why we do what we do: pick our skin/scalp. Also know that you are not alone and that many (more than you think) are suffering from the same bad habit.
"More people than you might think have a disturbing habit of picking scabs, including face picking or scalp picking. Those that do this to the extreme may suffer from dermatillomania, also known as excoriation disorder. If scab picking, face picking or scalp picking are so bad that they make a person feel embarrassed, ashamed or alone; if any of these habits feel more like an obsession or hold a person back from social interaction; if doing these things causes scars or disfigurement, then dermatillomania is the most probable cause."
Doctors have classified dermatillomania as a mental illness that often accompanies obsessive compulsive disorder.
Sources for more information:
After deep consideration of my own habits I think my personal case stems from being a perfectionist (OCD), then evolved into a nasty habit that I've yet to shake. It may be noted that I used to have eczema and dry environments tend to cause flareups on my scalp, leading me to scratch then feel those unwanted (yet unseen) scabs on my scalp. I begin to pick and although I want to stop, I cannot.
As someone before me mentioned, mediation or just simply being aware of this is the first step. A reward system helped me as well as adding a humidifier to the room I was in. Try to stay away from shampoos that contain alcohol as this will dry out your scalp and make it itch. Tea tree and jojoba oil are excellent natural ointments for treating skin and I recommend applying and massaging a small amount into your scalp, then waiting 15-30 mins, then rinsing in the shower.
As previously mentioned by others, keeping your hands busy helps a lot! I tend to pick at my scalp when I'm bored and nervous, picking unconsciously. I also used to bite my nails and skin around the cuticles but broke that habit by getting fake nails to get the feel for what it felt like to have nails. Once I got used to the feeling of having nails (functioning with them on) and the visual of actually having nails, I stopped! Perhaps a similar method may work for the scalp...
Remember mind over matter! The mind is the most powerful tool in our bodies, and anything is possible if you truly believe you can overcome this struggle. I know I can as I previously thought I would never be able to break my habit of biting my nails.
I'm soo proud of everyone on this thread who has come forth and shared their "embarrassing" habit and are willing to find a "cure"! There is hope as more doctors are becoming aware of this "disorder" and more resources are being contributed in finding treatments.
i am 26 years old and I am just a picker. I used to only my pick head and it started in high school. Back then I was anorexic and my home life was very difficult , I developed super control problems. I would pick my head constantly, to the point where it would be so time consuming I could not even hold a conversation. Finally one day I got an an infection and my necked swelled up like the hunchback Norte dame. It was embarrassing and painful. I stopped picking on my head for a while, but after a year or two I started picking my body. Legs, boobs, hands, face you name it. Honestly, I really am a very pretty girl but I can not help it. I also am taking a lot of meds for the anxiety like kkonopin and Prozac, smoking a small but effective dose of marijuana. But I wanna know why I am obsessed? Why I can I not stop im pretty and very vain but I will pick and make myself ugly. Please someone help know why
Welp, I'm glad I'm not alone with this habit. I have been picking scabs on my scalp ever since I was about 10 years old and I'm still picking them to this day, I'll sometimes even pick a lot of scabs whenever I go to sleep, I usually do it for half hour and then go to sleep. I don't pull hairs because it's more unappealing than picking scabs. My boyfriend and my parents (maybe some other people too that I don't know of) notices that I pick them a lot, my boyfriend gets a little frustrated but not so much for my parents surprisingly.
It's really hard for me to get rid of this bad habit because it's so addicting and comfortable, and it sometimes relieves my stress. Once in a while I'll think that I should stop, but I'm so obsessed with the habit that it's super hard to quit, I can't live without it sadly.
Recently I've been thinking about going to therapy and talk to someone that I have a problem with my obsession, and I would love to stop this before I make anything worse in the future. I'll probably end up doing that in a month because I'm broke at the moment.
So I guess in my opinion, I think you should go to a therapist (or whatever people prefer you to go to) and talk to someone about it and see what he/she can do for you.
I'm 16 and I've been picking my scalp for about 12 and I never thought that it was a problem until recently when I realized that my scalp was becoming extremely irritated and dry. I take great pride in my hair so when this started to happen I freaked out and decided I needed to stop but shortly realized I couldn't. So now I'm wearing gloves so it can make it harder for me to pick my scalp and hopefully I'll see improvements.
I do it too. My head hurts but I've been doing it off and on during stressful times in my life for 28 years now. I've never googled it before or told a doctor or therapist. I kind of like it when a new scab forms and cannot help but pick it off.
You will LOVE this! Use extra virgin coconut oil on your scalp or any dry problem area. You can find it in the cooking/baking isle in most stores and it's not expensive... You'll find it a little greasy, but It works my sweets... I apply it 2 times a week... I use a shower cap and lay a towel over my pillow... Its so nice to not have itchy dry skin and will make your hair super soft. Best wishes your worth it! :)
I have a similar problem... I'm 13 and have been picking at my scalp for a while now. My mother told me I'd lose my hair but I brushed it off as I couldn't stop and now approximately 10 or more hairs are falling out everyday. I don't know what to do... I'm really self-conscious and don't want to go bald at the age of 13 but I can't stop
When I was 11, I started picking my scalp. I found it satisfying to have some build up under my fingernails, and I would eat it. Have any of you eaten the scabs too? Not because you like the taste but just because it's habit.
I have picked my scalp for the past 13 years. I had a break of 2 years in there where i didnt do anything.. But as a woman i am horrified to go to a salon and get my hair cut and the hair person see my scabs.. so i have not gotten a hair cut in YEARS. split ends like crazy.. Party of me wanted to just shave my head.
My head doesnt itch.. But i will run my fingers thru my scalp and if i find a bump/scab i start to pick at it and wont stop till the scab comes out with hair /skin. Its very disgusting.. when i visit my mom she will watch me and says stop but i cant. DNA all over the floors.
I have been diagnosed with OCD/Anxiety.. when i was taking Zoloft it didnt help my picking.. And frankly im not a good drug taker so i stopped taking them after awhile. Right now i would say i have 6-7 spots that i pick at regularly.
I am so glad that I finally googled why do I pick my scalp. I have been doing this ever since I was a child on and off until now and I will be 36 in a few days. I pick so much there are scabs that never heal. When I feel a scab and pick it I have no idea why I am doing it. My head hurts and stings when I wash my hair. When I see the scab it's almost like it brings me happiness or fulfilment, I know that sounds weird. Also take blood thinner medication so my head will bleed more than someone that is not taking them. I have anxiety and depression. Also definitely have ocd of some sort. I do have a lot going on in my life and I'm sure a lot of you do as well. Any suggestions to help are greatly appreciated. Its comforting to know I'm not alone.
I have the same thing but i never told a doctor because its inbarrasing. Also i have bleeds and scabes thats old i have it since i was 11years old and i am 12years old now i cant stop scratching and pilling my scalp.Another thing i been going through alot and the more i go through it becomes worse and worse i been wanting to tell a doctor or go get checked in but i dont know if i should or should i just take care of myself have a depression problem and going through alot right now and stressing.......
hi everyone, i have a similar issue. i can’t remember when i started picking my scalp but i’m 17 now and it’s becoming a real issue. i don’t have a particular reason for doing it, i just do it?? i always run my fingers over my scalp and if there’s a bump or an imperfection i pick at it until it’s out then pull it out. this usually results in me pulling out hairs as well and it really isn’t pleasant as it can make my head hurt/bleed sometimes. like others who have commented i have depression and anxiety which stemmed from severe ocd that i am still sort of dealing with. i don’t know if this is something due to stress or depression/anxiety as everyone has that in common?
I have picked my scalp to the point of it bleeding and scabbing it up for a few years now. I don't mention it to the hairdresser who does my hair color touchups but I am pretty sure he must see some of the scabs. He is aware that I have MS. I was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis in late July of 2017 after a brain MRI came back showing lots of MS lesions and a spinal tap came back positive for high amounts of elevated protein 'o' bands. I do have depression and anxiety as well as carpal tunnel syndrome and cervical spinal stenosis. I don't know if my MS has anything to do with my scalp picking (otherwise known as a form of 'Excoriation Disorder'). See this URL: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1122042-overview
Excoriation disorder in my case is mainly my scalp, however I also pick behind my ears regularly. I also eat anything I pick off my scalp or from behind my ears and I am happy if what I pick off is bloody. It's like a sense of relief and accomplishment for me.
I have always been "a picker". Pimples, small scabs....even pimples or blackheads on my husband. Which he HATES. I have picked or scratched my head since I was in my early 20's. I will be 37 soon. The longer it has gone on, the more severe it has become. I have experienced a lot emotional and physical distress over the past decade, specifically the past 4-5 years. Over the past few months it has become very disturbing, as I have created small bald spots and start to panic when it's time to go to the salon because I have to stop. Or else my stylist cannot do her job or my hair with open wounds or scabs present. I have made up lies, such as burning myself with my flatiron, etc. I also have become unaware of when I am picking and when my husband points it out to me, I feel humiliated and embarrassed. I worry people will see my sores or scabs or scars through my hair(which is fairly thin & blonde), especially when it is pulled back. I know that it should hurt when I'm digging at my spots, but it just doesn't. It's actually quite relaxing. Washing my hair or brushing my hair when it's wet does hurt, but I just deal with it. I used to only do it when I was sleepy or falling asleep. Now it's ALL. THE. TIME. Especially when I'm driving. I can't control it. It's very satisfying and stress relieving. It's become very concerning and I just don't know what to do. Today was the first time I googled it. I was actually relieved to find that it was actually "a thing". I just don't know how to stop. I'm anxious and curious to read the rest of the stories and worries and possible answers or solutions. At least suggestions. In a non-judgmental environment. I never realized how truly embarrassed I am by this habit and how weird or gross other people find it. Thank you if you took the time to read this.
I also have the same issues and I have OCD (scalp picking and Gereralized anxiety disorder as well as ADHD) my disorders are a result of childhood and ongoing trauma (loss abandonment addiction in family and self rejection etc. trauma is different and personal per person) but left undealt with and unprocessed my brain mind and body were effected and it became a defense mechanism way of disassociating or anxiety relieving compulsion. God and a program called celebrate Recovery have helped me find the healing process to freedom and peace learning self control and trusting God having faith in him not myself to fix myself because I am powerless to stop on my own. These along with psychotherapy and medication have helped immensely. Washing or styling hair and using lotion are definitely helpful as well as prayer and meditation and keeping hands busy.. praying asking for God to help me control my hands and surrendering my body to him letting the Holy Spirit guide me to self control self compassion and taking care of the body I've been blessed with. Learning mindfulness is very helpful as well and finding the root of your pain and trauma ex abandonment rejection fear unforgivness codependency whatever cause the behavior or looking for relief from your psychological emotional or pysical trauma or pain and learning the tools to deal with your own personal issues is extrmemwly helpful and enlightening! They have many pyschiatry medications and trials they are doing with all natural or pyschadelic or medical CBD oil there are many treatments but most important is therapy Cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR or accelerated resolution therapy, exposure response therapy or exposure prevent therapy and habit reversal therapy have shown very successful! Go to the IOCDF.com international OCD FOUNDATION for more info treatments and specialists in your area. Also trichotellimania foundation has a website too if you google it with much helpful info and treatment options!
I have had a similar problem picking, pulling, biting nails for a few years now, and would describe it as both a symptom of distress and a distressing action. I also used to pick acne a lot honestly I think all 4 are related in nature. It is at it’s worst when it becomes so unconscious to me/when thinking/etc.
Non-medical prescription/suggested courses of action that may work for you:
What to work on long term :
CAUSES : Mental; a mixture of -
(iii) mental noise (started as negative self talk, descended into worse things, making thoughts unintelligible and highly disconnected at times);
(ii) feelings of lack of control.
TO COUNTERACT :
(i) stress :
You need to find ways of dealing with stress in your life that are constructive and not destructive.
You might well have done these in the past and lost your way or just adopted different habits. In any case it is always good to try something new and see what fit you best.
Good stress relief - stretching/yoga; a good run; anything that raises up that heart rate and uses excess nervous energy you don’t need addling you. Baths. A nice walk in the park. Listen to calming music. A companion. Make yourself an extra nice lunch. Read favourite book. Find other things unique to You and that You know that relax You.
Stress isn’t going to go away, and will inherently be a part of your life. It can be good and motivating, but you need to stop an overload before it happens, lest it lead to a loss in your constructive behaviour capital.
(ii) mental noise :
I am unsure if any of you deal with this thing, but you may be familiar with the niggling critical voices in your head that never shut up or leave you alone. You need to talk to yourself in a constructive manner. You need to help yourself grow, and provide yourself with a nurturing environment in which to grow. You cannot escape your own head. You are going to need to make friends with it. And when I say that, I mean really, talk to yourself like a friend. Never say anything mean, petty, untrue or unnecessarily scathing that you wouldn’t say to a bosom friend who you truly respect. Be honest with yourself, but kind and gentle. Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Flaws are lovable.Talk to yourself gently. You need a constructive, not destructive, mental environment. Be kind. Be supportive.
(iii)Make a list of things you are in control of in your existence , and things you are not in control of. Keep it to remind yourself. I know I tend to do these things when I feel/think things are way way out of control or whack. When things f up.
Make another list of your acheivements. These can be anything that mean a single dram to you. No-one can live your life like you can. You need to believe in yourself. You need to trust yourself. You need to see how this is a behaviour and habit, that with time, you can change.
In the meantime :
Now, another thing. It is of course very hard to stop cold turkey, as with any habit, let alone a nigh-reflexive one. You need to SUBSTITUTE! It is time for you to employ yourself as your very own personal masseuse. Try
rubbing the back of your neck, right into your spine sides
rubbing your temples.
Massage your hands.
Placing cool hands on your face.
Putting hands in cool water.
The peppermint oil one I saw here somewhere sounds really great.
Make/buy something to fidget with. It’s ok to fidget. It can even be healthy for you if you sit down for long periods of time according to some recent studies. You might as well do it constructively.
For your hair, if anyone feels very self-conscious about any hair loss, have you considered wearing a wig (possibly with something else beneath it to reduce itching) ? They are very available these days and you can buy some for dirt cheap enough if you are just looking to try a style. I shaved my head being so sick of what I was doing to what hair I had and am thinking of wigs. I think there’s nothing to be ashamed of with wearing them, there is such rich broad variety and they seem like a great thing to play with/ not to mention timesaving if you don’t want to waste time doing hair.
There were lots of great suggestions here in this page.
Bandages, headscarves, moisturising head, dabbing sores with AppleCiderV, keeping hands busy.
Try to constructively work toward blocks of time where you consistently don't do it by whatever method you can think of. Miles are made of inches. It is OK if/when you relapse. You can do the same over, and any break in the habit is a little success for you.
Best of luck everyone and I think it will be alright!
I have recently been able to stop scalp picking, I believe what's been helpful is taking Lexapro for depression & anxiety. Aside from the Lexapro (10 mg once a day in the morning), I also keep a large hair clip close by me when I am in my room & I play with it if I feel the urge to pick. The hair clip is symbolic as well as it has to do with hair and hair breakage can happen as a result of extreme scalp picking.
I have the same problem and i've had it for years and i have been having severe headache constanstly for the past few days day and night. and i'm frightened to go see a doctor and ashamed to te him about my habit. i've been imagining the worst scenarios and i'm so worried. i can't conventrate on anything.