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daal6272 , 20 Jan 2009

Scalp PIcking...

I am a teenager who picks their scalp. I am so disgusted with myself for doing it and i thought i was all alone with this. I saw commercials for a Tyra episode though and it showed someone who picks and eats so i thought i would search the web for answers. I wanna stop so bad, is there anyway i can just go cold turkey with it? I am generally not a depressed person and i lead a mostly happy life so far. I have been doing it for about a year now. And i am scared of it potentially lasting my whole life. I need help..
11 Answers
February 10, 2009
I've been picking my scalp for about 5-6 years now. Started when I was in high school, and havent ever really stopped. I remember the day it started. I also remembering being quite paranoid and having some anxiety before I started, after also leading quite a enjoying life-- So I know why it started. Now it's just developed into a really bad habit and something I can't stop; doing it when pondering/bored/anxious etc. Honestly, for us, I think the only out is contacting a professional that practices 'Cognitive-behavioral therapy & Habit Reversal Training.'
February 20, 2009
I am also a scalp picker. I find it a way to calm myself down when I'm stressed, anxious, annoyed, sad, really happy, etc. I think I use it as a means to distract myself. I really like doing it, but realize that it is a NASTY habit and I'm VERY addicted to doing it, even in situations where I KNOW it's inappropriate. I need help...
March 25, 2009
I am a scalp picker. It started when I was using Crystal Meth a few years ago. I have been sober for about 2 years now and I still pick at my scalp and other places. This is so wierd for me to be on here because I thought that my problem was because I used and couldn't figure out why I still do it. Is this a compulsive disorder?
pretty picker
June 24, 2010

In reply to by nisc0255

I wouldn't be surprised if the drugs gave you an imaginary itch that you scratched at anyway, causing real scabs. Now it's probably a nervous thing. I don't know if you have other issues, but that is my guess. The important thing is that you stay clean. Picking is not the worst thing, is it? :-) Good luck.
June 23, 2010
I am a 33 year-old law student. I have picked the scabs on my head since I was 14. I think that it is stress related. I will quit for a while, but when life provides stress, the game is back on. I haven't talked to my shrink about, because I didn't know it was a real problem or that other people did the same thing, but I'll ask her.
pretty picker
June 24, 2010
I've always known I was a picker. I never knew there were others like me - although wow, some are pretty extreme! I'm always picking at something and in the last few years it's been the scabs on my head. I don't know if I made the scabs from scratching or how they got there, but I pick at them and it hurts. Sometimes I even see enough blood that I have a red streak in my hair. I feel very selfconcious sitting at my desk at work and one of my coworkers stands besides me. I'm noticing a lot of people saying they are depressed, etc., but I am actually pretty happy and have a good life. I don't know why I do it. I want to stop because it's gross and it hurts. I have no desire to mutilate my body in any way. Maybe it's a nervous habit, I don't know. I'm otherwise pretty normal... or at least I think, ha ha. For you ladies out there, I have found something that does help... get fake nails. They are thicker than your regular nail and it makes it really hard to pick, giving your scalp some time to heal. Problem for me is, as the nails grow out, yep you guessed it, I start picking at the nail til it comes off...
June 24, 2010
I have been picking my scalp for a couple of years now, and I saw that commercial too, watched the show, and was EXTREMELY relieved that one person alone understands and publically speaks about it. That is very bold. I truly think it is stress related, or like that Pica syndrome where peope eat stange things like chalk because they have a defficiency somewhere or another. I want to stop SO badly. I hate it. It controls a big portion of my life.
August 01, 2010
Hi i am 51 old head picker, scalp picker really, i have started with this anoying(to others around me) some 8 years back. all i know it relaxes me and i will stop only when the scabs are bleeding and than when it is healling again i will start all over. i feel it is to do with some sort of not being happy with who i am and not accepting myself as who i am. i lead a pretty self free life however LOTS OF INSECURITIES play in my mind..... it is a torment to my girlfriend who is trying to in as much as possible be gracefull to extreem but i know it is actually a torture to her..... i donrt have the answers and i know that you can run but you cant hide,,,,, i feel better knowing i am not alone in this....
March 07, 2013
Have you ever researched Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) on the Internet? I suffer from it as do others I know and your experience sounds in keeping with other stories I have heard and my own experience. I very recently became a scalp picker. I had gone through a very, very stressful work situation and a broken engagement at the same time and while out of work, began doing this after a few days of compulsively running my hands through my hair in an anxious way. I would then find "uneven" spots and without thinking, scratch at them (while in the midst of my thinking on other things). Next thing I knew, I had some small raw spots that became scabs. As I continued my nervous habit of touching my scalp (running fingers through hair) when stressed, I would feel the scabs and the "OCD" part of me needed to get them off my head- no matter what. They would then hurt and bleed (of course). I'd swear I wouldn't touch my head again but of course as they heal-like any other sore-they may itch. So I would subconsciously start all over. I created a quarter sized raw, bloody, hairless spot right on the top of my scalp (among other spots less noticeable). It bled and was clearly VERY infected. I finally healed through a combination of shampoos, prescription antihistamines (more to fatigue and make me sleep than much else), a steroid pack, and a low level antibiotic which is good for skin infections- minocycline (generic). That healed my acute condition but the quarter size spot healed over with absolutely no discernible follicles- it looked liked I had "killed" my follicles in that spot from scratching and infection. However, 4 months later, the hair has started to grow back in that spot. But I also notice that my picking has returned on a much smaller scale. When I am anxious, I fiddle with my hair and that leads to my hair/scalp. If your problems are remotely similar, I suggest a therapist experienced in OCD. I am currently working on methods to ensure I can't get started on picking behavior when I may be anxious (I often wear very thin gloves when I am reading alone or working on stressful stuff, fiddling with an uncomplicated but soothing stress toy that occupies my hands and keeps them off of my head, have thicker gel nails (like someone else suggested, etc). If I can keep my hands out of my hair, hour by hour, I win. And then day by day, and so on. Sorry this was long but it tormented me too for so long so I wanted to offer anything that might help. Ps my derm encouraged me to wash my hair daily (I was an every other day gal) until my scalp healed. I feel much better when I followed her advice. Personally, if I get a particularly irritated spot or sore, I find a few drops of tea tree oil is a helpful healing tool. Best of luck! I truly feel your pain and am thankful this forum is here for all of us who feel isolated. We aren't :)
May 06, 2013
I had no idea this was a common problem and even had a name. I have done this since I was a teenager and I am lucky I do not have a bald spot. I less intense picking of cuticles and any bump I find. So it's a form of OCD? Is the treatment always cognitive behavioral?

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