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drSpockwa , 27 Jan 2011

Scalp and nose picker

I'm male and 36 years old and my current vices are scalp and nose picking. The nose picking I've done for as long as I can remember. It's not bad, to the point of bleeding or harm but it's obviously grose and I wonder if it doesn't cause/worsen my alergies and other problems by putting my fingers there. My real problem is my scalp. I think I started it when I was in college, it was either from stitches I had to get in my scalp from a bad cut or from playing volleyball on the beach and finding sand in my scalp for hours afterward. My fingers got used to exploring and finding imperfections and scraping them off. Unfortunately this includes partially healed scaps which let loose with blood. It's almost strictly on the crown of my head. Sides and back of my head have no problems. Sometimes it gets so sore and raw I can't stand to move my forehead because it hurts. Another oddity, while I'm at it (and which brought me to this site) is that I like to look at and collect (temporarily) the scabs I pull off my head. Same with the junk that comes out of my nose, but I don't keep that. Weird huh? I also remember in highschool picking my face. I had a bad case of acne, and broke the habit by removing the acne with Acutane. It worked quite well. I'm not sure if that was the beginning of my picking habit/behavior/problem, but it certainly wasn't the end. My boss of many years recently brought my head scratching to my attention. He did it very nicely and I appreciate that he did. I think I've gotten better, but doubt that will be all it takes to get me to quit. I think my triggers are stress and boredom. Stress makes sense to me, but my only guess on boredom is that I'm not stimulated enough. I think I do the most picking while I'm watching TV. Using my computer is not bad because my fingers keep busy. I have been taking an SSRI since I got out of college for anxiety. Not specificly for my picking but it hasn't helped my picking. Hope this helps others relate or the researchers to gain info. This isn't a crisis for me, but it's something I'd love to be rid of. I can relate to those who pick their face. It's hard not to worry about what others think of what you're doing or the results. My prayers are with you.
2 Answers
January 27, 2011
I'm 35 year old female and Identify with your story. Hope you get help.
January 30, 2011
I am a 25 year old college student and I can identify with your story completely. I started scratching at my scalp about five years ago, perhaps due to dandruff, or something. Over the years, I began compulsivelly scratching my scalp without noticing it was much of a problem. I have known for about two years that my scratching is not due to dandruff or anything, but is a compulsive habit. It has gotten progressively worse and this year it has become so bad that I'm starting to loose my hair. I don't think that my scalp scratching and picking is related to a particular traumatic event in my life, but is due to intense stress and anxiety, now it's so compulsive I feel totally out of control with it. I too used to pick pimples and zits when I was a teenager and took acutane as well which treated the acne problem fairly (unfortunately it is a lot more difficult for a female to take acutane than for a male because it can cause horrific birth defects and thus I was subjected to very strict pregnancy tests and blood work which made it difficult to complete the full treatment, and I never did). I really want to quit head scratching altogether but it is such a compulsion right now, trying to will myself off of it seems completely hopeless. I just really don't want to go prematurely bald. One thing that I am thinking of-is to cut my hair fairly short, I figure if I have less weight of hair on my head than I won't be as compelled to scratch. I think that if I do a big change like that than I may be able to forget about scratching my head for long enough to break the habit-hope this helps

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