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Tom , 09 Jun 2011

Concerned parent

Hi Folks, Not sure if I'm doing all of this correctly but hear it goes. We are the pround parents of a 25 year old daughter who has been picking for over 12 years. The worst of it takes place when she is watching tv, or reading and seems to go into a trance like state and picks mostly her face and the back of her neck. We love our daughter in a way that all children and people should be loved. This is why it is so difficult to see her not wanting to discuss this with us in a open and trusting way. We are looking for some advice to help break the slience. My heart goes out to all of you who have this terrible thing to deal with. Looking for help-Tom
10 Answers
June 10, 2011
Tom. I am 28 and I can relate to your daughter. She is lucky to have a parent like you, who is concerned and willing to do whatever it takes to help. I am sure it will be difficult because this is such a sensitive and secretive subject. I have been wanting to stop picking since I was 13 years old (when I started). For me, I am learning that picking is a way to (1) release my emotions - good or bad and (2) strive for some form of perfection. I am an over achiever, very successful in my career and still dealing with this teenage issue of acne. It is very embarrassing to arrive at an executive meeting with scabs and scars from this issue. Nobody says anything and they may not notice, but it really affects me. I am still confident and communicative in social environments, but I wonder how much more confident I could be if it wasn't for this issue. It truly dominates my life. A good website to look at is There is some very useful information that might help. I am always afraid to give direct advise on what you should do, in fear I am wrong. But I don't think silence is doing any good for your daughter. She is probably embarrassed, ashamed and frustrated. But maybe getting all of those feelings out will help her recover. Picking is a form of emotional release. It is both physical and mental - that is why it is so powerful. After a successful extraction, a habitual picker is in a state of euphoria. It feels good in the moment (while in a trance). Afterward, the shame and frustration is crippling. The website I mentioned recommends crying about the addiction. I have never been able to do this. I wish I could, it may help me in some weird way. Maybe a conversation with a loved one who is truly concerned would spark this emotional release in me. Confrontation is a big step towards recovery. I don't want to preach for too long, but there is one more thing that I feel is important. A habitual picker needs to be forgiving of their actions. I know it is a long road to recovery and I will re-lapse multiple times. (I re-lapse daily). But the severity and quantity of picking is reduced overall. Over time, I am confident, with the support of family and forums like this, I will be able to recover 100%. I wish you strength, understanding and success with your efforts to help your daughter.
June 10, 2011
Hi Tom, I'm 22 and have been picking for what seems like my whole life. I completely relate to your daughter in that the worst picking can come when you're in a trance like state - you literally don't even notice you're doing it! It can also come during different emotional states as well, whether you're upset, or relaxed, bored or excited. Think of the habit the way you would think of a smoker who reaches for a cigarette. That being said it is also really embarrassing and for years my mother has told me to stop (my father hasn't really said anything, but I think I hide it well enough that he's not as aware of it) and when it's brought up I cringe. Coming to this and other sites for advice is a great step! If possible, maybe you can recommend the site to her? just email it or write it on a piece of paper and put it on her bed or any place where she'll definitely see it. Personally, when I first found this website, I cried. The feeling of knowing you're *absolutely* not alone is one of the greatest feelings in the world and a powerful influence in helping someone to stop (again, because they're aware their not the only ones). Sorry to ramble, hope I helped in some way!
June 10, 2011
Hi Tom, I too am a 25 year old who is just coming to accept this and am willing to treat it. My parents have brought it up to me, but I was too closed off. It seemed like they were confronting me about a problem that I wasnt ready to accept that I had. I had to come to it myself, but a really big step for me was knowing that there was a term for this disorder. Once I found that I knew I had to change my habits. Does she know that it is called Dermatillomania? Does she know it is common amounst women and treatable? She must want to stop, we all do, so approaching it in a way that is relatable might help. Maybe you once had a bad habit you couldnt break? Smoking? Nail Biting? If she can relate and feels like she isnt alone, she may open up. Hope that helps, When I first started reading your post- I thought it might be from one of my parents! Best to you,
June 14, 2011
Hey Tom, I am a 28 year old female and have been picking for about 6 years. I just wanted to let u know that I'm happy u see a problem with ur daughter and u are reaching out to and trying to educate yourself about this and not confronting her without resources to give her that can help. I would just like to say in my case it is very embarrassing when anyone says anything about my sores. I have just now started to talk openly about it. Just remember it is not as easy as taking her tweezers the anxiety for me and others I have talked to is overwhelming. I would look for a therapist that specializes in this area and when she is ready make that available to her! Once again, it warms my heart to see a father trying to help his daughter!! Good luck
June 15, 2011
I'm only 19 years old. I've been picking for years. And I too pick at the back of my neck. Picking is just an all around embarrassing thing for me to admit to anyone. My mom would bring it up before and I would yell at her because I was embarrassed. But I know now that she just tried to help. If she doesn't want to discuss it with you right now, then don't force it, because that just leads to trouble. If I were you I would just distract her from picking. Help her, but without her even knowing you're doing it. When she goes into a trance, snap her out of it. And if that doesn't work, then just tell her you love her, and you just want to help her.
June 18, 2011
u r so great for accepting and trying to help ur daughter my entire family just yells at me and tells me i can stop i just dont want to, i am 21 i have been picking since i was 8, i was to ashamed to talk to anyone when this first started and now i just feel like its not worth trying to talk to them about it so the fact that u want to get her some help and ur loving and accepting is the first and most important step, its very easy to pick if ur into something else and u dont really notice it until u r bleeding i would suggest everytime u start to see her pick while watching tv distract her pull her back into focusing on whats going on around her mention nicely that shes starting to pick, give her something to do while watching tv knitting crochet, fashion plates anything to keep her hands busy for me latchhook kits were fun so i would try and do those, encourage her to play a video game while she watches tv multitasking is going to be key to helping clear her skin. way to go on being an awesome parent and supporting ur daughter i hope these suggestions help her
June 23, 2011
OOh. Bad news for parents- your kid really has to want to stop...! I hate to say it, because I know how hard it must be on you, but other than be there to listen and offer money to spend at a good dermatologist, or a pyschologist, there is nothing you can do. Try to get her to talk to a pyschologist or a dermatologist - a start anywhere is a start. It takes years to deal with those, I started when I was about 6 yrs old and stopped, and resumed again at age 23 and now I am 29. It is probably half physical half mental. Engaging her in non-tv, non-internet activities that require using your hands would help. I have a worry stone, and I've learned to knit. I also try to use Dialectical Behavior Therapy to stop and notice when I'm doing it and catch myself in the act. You can find out more about this therapy by googling DBT or Marsha Linehan.
June 23, 2011
Tom - here are some more tips that have helped me. Remember, though, your daughter has to be ready to hear the advice in her own time. -Leg waxing - either self or in salon ---In salon is better, but getting to "pick" the wax off helped me temporarily feel good. -Knitting -Going in the Ocean (follow by a shower though or you will get itchy fast) -Don't overdry or overmoisturize. -Don't use too many different skin products at a time - use two to three monthly. -Shower daily and moisturize right afterward. (This may be a good one for a woman to discuss with her). I find that I feel great when I do that. I hate to admit it but I think the fact that I sometimes shower only every other day plays a part. -Avoid sugar. It makes me itchy. However, I have a sweet tooth, so I use topical gels and solutions when I can't have the will to stop eating sugar. -Exercise. Exercise regulates the hormones and helps one feel calm. It's much easier to stop exercising though than to start. A daily walk is a good way to start. Maybe you can ask her to go with you around the neighborhood to help you keep active in your "old age". If she feels it's helping YOU rather than HER, she may feel less like she is being attacked or humiliated and be more willing to go. -Talking to someone I trust. -Talking to my therapist. -Read my post about "2 Drugstore Items Cheap that work" (I forget the exact title - but it was from today, June 22 2011). I mention Lotrimin Ultra, prescriptions, soaps and also hydrogen peroxide. --Oh yeah and I got these awesome "Camo" bandaids that are flexible "Camp Camo" Bandaids or something like this that you can pick at the edges but you wont get to the inside. Bandaids really help. G o o D * L u c K. ! . ! . ! This is a tough one!
June 23, 2011
See my POST NAMED: : "2 Products -Cheap from the Drugstore that WORK "

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