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carlacantstop , 15 Sep 2011

I absolutely can NOT stop picking.

My arms are a wreck. My legs are a wreck. My behind is also a wreck. I go after my face a bit too! I tweeze hairs and go after things that dont exist with sewing needles. I pick scabs off with tweezers. I cant stop. My husband and my family will yell at me to stop and smack away my hands but I just kinda slide off and lock myself in the bathroom. Ive been doing this for about 15 years. It makes me upset and depressed. I guess I either have to cut off my finders or visit a psychologist. Is there a certain type I should see? Any temporary things I could try? This has just become ridiculous. :( Thanks!
4 Answers
September 15, 2011
My picking was also that severe. But I know that some SSRI's help with impulsive behavior like skin picking so as I was getting treated for depression, my antidepressants also helped control my obsession to pick. But you should always see a psychologist before a psychiatrist. I would try and find a psychologist who specializes with anxiety. Or there is a lot of group therapy you could probably find around your area. Some might deal with OCD, some BDD, and others just anxiety or all of them and I found those to be very helpful.
October 04, 2011
I have had a LOT of luck with the amino acid N-acetyl cysteine, which is sometimes sold as N-acetyl L-cysteine, for my 11-year-old daughter who severely picks her skin (arms and legs). I'm hoping that everyone on this group will check it out. We started out at 1200mg each day, 600mg in the morning and 600mg in the evening. Then we worked up to 2400mg, 1200 mg in the morning and 1200 mg in the evening, within about 3 or 4 weeks. The study that was done in 2009 showed the best results were after 9 weeks of continuous treatment with this amino acid, also just known as NAC. We saw great results after 6 weeks. Please consider trying it. I am not a doctor, so please weigh out the risks for yourself. It has truly been a godsend. My daughter used to pick to the point of staph infections. She has scars all over her body. It works by regulating the URGE to pick. You can download the summary text of the 2009 study on this website - The study was for hair-pulling, but skin-picking and nail-biting result from similar sets of urges.
October 06, 2011
Your post could have so easily been written by me - I am in EXACTLY the same situation. I'm up tonight as things are getting out of control, just recently I've gotten so obsessed I can't get it to heal. My legs - down to my ankles, my butt cheeks, my upper arms and my forehead which I hide under my hair. getting tough to hide my behaviour. My hubby tries to ignore me but recently I also can't stop myself whilst sitting at my desk or in the pub. i think I'm being discreet but I'm sure I'm not - people are probably digusted. I can't remember when I started. I think at puberty although I think for a phase in my mid 20s it was quite mild - I can't recall my time line at all. I'm now in my 40s I only recently - in the last 12 months admitted it outloud to anyone. My partner of 17 years is obviously aware but we rarely disguss it. My doctor has now put me on a list for psychotherapy - 2 year wait. I take pills to balance seratonin, have been on antidepressants at times of severe stree and have attended stree management and learnt relaxation techniques The fight in my head is constant and the urge to pick overwhelms all others. Even when I'm not feeling the slightest bit of external stress Relaxation techniqures could work but take practice and for sure I'm not there yet. Breath in and out and with each in breath count as far as 10 then reverse in so with each out breath count from 10-1 I'm going to try it now Good luck with it x
October 07, 2011
kcantwell I have posted to this site from time to time under the title "possible cure." I have developed a mental exercise that can in most cases cure compulsive picking in one week or less. It has worked for all who tried it, including myself, a former compulsive picker. The exercise requires less than an hour a day, and results usually begin by the third day. It is somewhat complicated. E-mail me at and I will describe it for you and you can get started. I will also tell you about the experience of others. It costs nothing now or ever. I am an individual, not connected to any commercial of academic organization. Ken

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