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Please help me
I don't know if this is the right place for me or not. My husband is a picker. I have really noticed that it has gotten worse over the last few years. We have had a lot of stress and it seems to coincide. He picks his face, arms, legs, stomach and buttocks. He has been to the doctor several times and asks about it, usually because I tell him I am worried and feel he needs to go to a dermatologist. No one has ever given him an answer and he refuses to go to a dermatologist. So,I began doing research on it trying to figure it out. I read that at times the person seems to go into a trance while picking. I have noticed him doing this quite often. He also picks in his sleep and sometimes when I wake up the sheets have blood spots on them and his side of the bed is covered in dry skin and scabs. After I found information on this on the internet I suggested that maybe he had dermatillomania due to the stress he has been under. He dismissed this and attributes it to an allergy of some sort. He has horrible scars. I love my husband a great deal and only want to help him. I understand that this could result in shame and I don't ever want him to be ashamed so I am afraid to bring it back up to him, but I am concerned as it is getting worse very quickly. Maybe someone could give me some advice about how to handle it so I don't make it worse. Thanks
May 05, 2012
Hey dla, it's awesome of you to come here in support of your husband--as a picker, it makes me feel good that someone who isn't a picker cares about us and our problems, despite it being kinda gross and awkward. Trances are really rough--at least for me, because often I'll realize I'm picking and I need to stop and I want to stop but I just can't, my fingers keep going and I just want to cry. I love it when my boyfriend comes and hugs me and makes me stop, because he knows skin contact is important, especially when you feel like $hit about all the spots on your skin you just made worse, and he just says, "Hey, stop hurting that body, I love it, even if you're delusional." and watches me so I can't pick without getting yelled at, distracted, or embarrassed. Just letting your husband know that you're looking out for him because you care, and maybe find ways to talk or exercise to burn off stress too. It's a wakeup call to record every time you pick, so you could encourage him to do that so he can see the damage. My father has eczema so I probably have some genetic disposition for bad skin, but picking definitely makes it worse and just dismissing it won't help. It does feel really shameful though, especially with someone you're intimate with, so if he's shy, just be patient, he'll appreciate that you care. Just be supportive, not too aggressive or pushy, but not just ignoring it--it might be embarrassing, but it's worth hearing and communicating especially in a relationship. Good luck and best wishes!