Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Community
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1699033 tn?1514113133

skin/scalp picking disorder

I have noticed a lot of people posting to the forum regarding skin and scalp picking.  With almost every post the person says they thought they were the only one.  Since I have been CL of this forum I have noticed that there seem to be three things that people do or worry about more often than others.  

1)  HIV anxiety
2) Skin/scalp picking

As far as the skin and scalp picking goes, it seems to me that most people are surprised there are others out there that do this, most admit to some sort of anxiety that the skin and scalp picking lessens, most people are long-term sufferers and the majority of you have not sought any help for this disorder.  

dermatillomania is skin picking
trichotillomania is hair pulling

Both are considered impulse control disorders.  Some of you have posted that you don't even want to go outside anymore because you have picked your face or arms to the point that "they are a mess" or you have pulled your hair out to the point of baldness and are embarassed so go to the hair salon.  Some of you have confessed to locking yourselves in the bathroom and picking and pulling in order to hide what you are doing.  

As I said above, this is an impulse control disorder.  It requires special treatment.  

Here is a wonderful website for people suffering from these disorders:  http://www.trich.org/

I urge you all to seek professional help.  You are not alone.  It is nothing to be ashamed of.  Look at it this way, what you do is really no different from what many of us do with OCD.  Some of us obsess over thoughts and perform rituals.  The only difference is that what you do is noticable on the outside while what the others do is internal.  We too have scars but they are not visible.  

Please seek help and please share your success stories on here.  Start a thred labeled "skin and scalp picking success story"  and let's see how many of you can post on that thread with your own success story.  My very best to all of you.  
5 Responses
1699033 tn?1514113133
Reposting just in case anyone is interested.
Avatar universal
Oh - what a great idea to show success stories and I am sorry that I didn't see this till I had posted my comments in the existing thread. I may well become known for my work in this field as time progresses. I'm glad I found this forum.
Keep at it JGF25 your comments are so honest and supportive.  
Avatar universal
I have scratched and picked my scalp for about fifteen years. It started with a spot on my scalp that may have been normal dandruff, or it may have been fungal. Who knows, but it's been a long road since. It has always flaked and when I would scratch, tons of dandruff came off. Over the years, the size of the spot has gotten bigger and bigger and obsessive scratching has taken over my life. To me, I've always scratched until dandruff stopped falling. I felt better once it was all off of me, so to speak. Of course, guilt and shame often followed. My skin would be sore and I'd still feel dirty for doing it.

I had tried all the regular shampoos. Head and Shoulders, coal tar, Selson Blue. Nothing worked. I realized most of the problem was behavioral and even tried using a scalp massager whenever I got the urge to scratch. But, itching would always drive me nuts after a couple of days. I am prone to eczema on my torso and even tried Mometasone Furoate Rx cream on it. But I only did a couple days treatment and quit.

I went to a dermatologist and she gave me a sample of Ketaconazole foam. That didn't work. Recently, the spots on my scalp spread to the other side of my head and I really began to feel despair. Something needed to be done.

Recently, I had my eczema cream refilled for my torso rash. I also splurged on the expensive Nizoral Ketoconazole shampoo in the store. I shaved my head and started using the shampoo once a day and the cream twice daily.

I almost cry because it seems to be clearing up. And it doesn't itch anymore and the positive feelings have made me not want to scratch at it and just leave it be.  For the first time in fifteen years, I feel like I'm finally winning this battle.

So, I realize this cure may not work for everyone. But, especially if you are prone to eczema, I urge you to try it. Prescription Mometasone Furoate cream  to treat it as eczema and Nizoral Ketoconazole shampoo to treat it as fungal.
1699033 tn?1514113133
Thanks for sharing your story for others to read.  
Avatar universal
I think all of our situations areally very different,  my head doesn't itch, so there's no shampoo or cream to help me, it's a mental urge to pick, the goal is to create a scab, many, and to keep picking these scabs, I have talked to my therapist, psychiatrist, and doctor and none of them really seemed to show any interest or concern and what I was telling them, I was being treated for anxiety, panic disorder, depression, and PTSD so maybe they were so I thought I was the only one. My grandmother has since passed many many many years ago but it just shows me somewhere between 50 and 100 years ago I had a relative who had the same affliction?
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