Online Test

Find out the severity of your symptoms with this free online test

marmalade , 21 Oct 2011

New & Considering getting help in the UK

Hi, I just discovered this website today. I'm not sure if my skin picking problem is serious enough to get a clinical diagnosis, but it is definitely a problem for me! I pick and scratch my skin a lot. The damage I cause is not very severe, but I am very embarrassed by my behaviour, which is usually in public. I am at university and am very aware that everyone is sat quietly listening, not moving, whilst I feel like I cannot control my hands! I am constantly fidgeting, picking, scratching, tug at my hair, touching my face, etc etc. I feel awful when people comment on it, and it is also really stopping me from concentrating. I have a history of mental health difficulties including self-harm, depression and an eating disorder. I wondered if I had ADHD and the picking was hyperactivity so went to see a psychiatrist, but he told me he thought my problem was anxiety. He prescribed me some medicine but it has not helped. I have psoriasis and am quite prone to skin complaints, I think this may be part of the problem but I think a lot of it is psychological (e.g. I tend to pick most at areas of skin I can see, having clothing on that covers a lot of skin so I don't see the imperfections seems to help). I want to stop and am considering finding a therapist to help me. I have heard about 'mindfulness' and thought this might benefit me, as I often pick and scratch without even thinking about it, and I'm definitely not aware of feeling anxious. I wondered if others had tried different therapies and what had helped? In the UK some therapy is free on the NHS but I do not think my problem is likely to be serious enough, so I will probably see if I can see someone privately. It is a relief to read about other people who have similar problems to mine, but I also worry that my problem is not as serious as other people's and if I mention it to a doctor they won't do anything.
1 Answer
October 23, 2011
Hi! I am in a really similar position to you, I left uni last year myself. When I left one of the things I swore to myself was that I would hit this nail on the head now that I was free. I let myself go in a few ways in my final year (as the name implies I'm an animator and I spent the majority of my waking time that year working on my grad film. And eating like trash, and picking. I promised myself it would be worth it...) in my second year I started taking antidepressants and at the time I mentioned my skin picking symptoms - I wasn't on a super-strong dose, but while the antidepressants helped most of my emotional problems it didn't affect my compulsion to pick one bit. Ive stopped taking them now because I want to be off medication, and I really, really don't want to have to go back on. I went to my GP a month or so ago because id finally plucked up the courage to really try and explain it, rather than just sort of hinting at it in appointments for other things but feeling too embarrassed to talk properly. But surprise surprise the doctor didn't really seem to get it. They've prescribed me antibiotics to try and stop too many new spots that might tempt me to pick, but theyve also set me up with some counselling which is now finally moving - got a telephone consultation next week, and then I spose I'll have to see what it's like in the actual sessions. When I had counselling before I didn't really think it was all that - I know what my problems are and I also have at least some idea of why I do it, what I want is help stopping! I'm hoping that this isn't just going to be more of the same old 'tell me about your family' nonsense. Ideally, my main hope is that, once i've explained my problem, they'll have heard of it and know a more specific service I could use. I don't really want to pay loads for private sessions, but if that turns out to be the only option I'll have to look at the cost and delay moving out for another year...I'm already resigned to the fact that I want to have laser therapy when my compulsions ease up a bit. I dropped into a skin specialist clinic a couple of months ago and talked to them, and they assured me that they have specialised people to talk to there as well as treatments - but the consultation session alone would cost me £140! It's a lot of money but if the NHS doesn't work out I suppose I'll have to go for that. Does your uni have its own counselling service? My art school was pretty naff but it did have that. You could see if you can get a trial session and then try to find out if the person you see has any other information that's more specific. Now is the time to do it anyway because you've got way more chance of getting some sort of financial help as you're still a student. If it's any help, once I go to the counselling I'm meant to be getting and tell them about it, I can let you know how used to hearing this kind of thing they were and what options they give me, if any!

Start your journey with SkinPick

Take control of your life and find freedom from skin picking through professional therapy and evidence-based behavioral techniques.

Start Now