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Pochahontas , 25 Sep 2011

Why we pick - Theory

I believe picking is cause by repressed anxiety. I've noticed when I recall painful past events or encounters, I end up in front of my bathroom mirror nine times out of ten. From what I've read from the many stories posted on here, picking is our form of coping mechanism. Instead of dealing with the problem at hand, we shove it aside and choose to ignore it. If you've been addicted to picking for over a year, that just shows to prove it. It's so hard to quit, because that means dealing with whatever problems we're hiding from in real life; whether they're psychological, physical, emotional, etc. I've noticed right after I pick there's a brief moment of high and joy. Later I feel bad about it, but I choose to ignore it and forget about it. I believe the first step to quitting is learning to face your fears and problems.
11 Answers
October 04, 2011

In reply to by Pochahontas

Update! ~~ I've been able to once again begin the process to recovery. I've been stopping myself when I start to pick at my face, scalp, etc., and I'm proud of myself.
September 27, 2011
Agreed! But it's so hard to identify where some of the anxiety is coming from and realizing the emotional triggers
September 30, 2011

In reply to by Jenna_Beast

Indeed, it is hard to nail down the picking triggers. I believe I've found mine. Strike that, I KNOW I've found my triggers. I'm just scared to face it, or scared to face it alone. I've been using my picking as a crutch to maintain my own sanity, but facing both problems is stressful. (Both the cause of the picking and the picking itself.) Whenever you realize you're picking, stop and think about what you were thinking about before you started picking your skin. Try thinking about it for 10-15 minutes, and make sure you consciously remind yourself not to pick your skin. Right now i'm having to remind myself not to scratch my scalp. It seems one of my triggers is thinking about picking or my addiction. GO FIGURE. x)
October 07, 2011

In reply to by Pochahontas

One of my problems is sometimes I pick when I'm bored or just hanging around watching tv. Most my lips though and that's usually when I zone out. How can I identify the triggers for that when all I'm doing is sitting watching tv or reading a book with out a care in the world. I doubt there's anxiety connected to relaxing and watching tv.
October 08, 2011

In reply to by Jenna_Beast

Hmm. When you catch yourself picking while zoning out in front of the TV, really observe what you're watching. That might have something to do with it. I've noticed when I'm relaxed, I scratch my head. Whether I'm reading, on the internet, etc. I've noticed this. I have yet to find why it's my default habbit, though.
September 28, 2011
I completely agree. Right now, my stress is coming in the form of a 5-page paper, due tomorrow. I've spent the last 45 minutes picking my arms and face rather than start it. I feel absolutely horrible.
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 09, 2011
for me, anxiety levels have very little correlation with picking. What they are finding out is that a lot of cases of picking and hair pulling originate in the same place in the brain as does drug, alcohol and gambling addictions. Dr. Grant and Dr. Kim at the University of Minnesota are having good success in treating skin picking with drugs they use to treat drug and alcohol addiction.

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