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amickow , 25 Jan 2009

ADHD & Skin picking

My daughter(7) has ADHD when she takes any of the medications, to help her with that, it makes her pick her fingers uncontrollably. So she still can not pay attention in class. I was wondering if anyone has had or is having the same problems and has found anything that helps.
36 Answers
January 26, 2009
They say to ages 7-10 are going to pick at some point or another. Nail biting and stuff. Maybe social disorder could be the cause? When I was a kid the medication didn't work for me so I would pick my skin off my fingers as a way of fidgeting because it sped me up. There are so many reason your child could be doing this. Source to read:
August 01, 2010

In reply to by tarab

i just found this after i posted my adderall post. it sounds like its true and is linked! im less likely to pick when i m not on my meds. its a bad habit anyways but with the medication makes it into something i would not normally do to that extreme..
January 27, 2009
I am sorry to hear that your daughter is having this problem...I am currently 28 yrs old and have had ADD ,(non-hyperactive), combined with skin picking compulsions for years. I have found that when taking Adderall or other stimulant medications, the urge to pick is positively overwhelming, quite honestly. I have always been inclined towards picking, but when I am medicated, it seems that it cannot be helped, and I have damaged myself rather severely at times when on these drugs to a point that I usually would not. Also, my father has been diagnosed as having ADD and suffers from the same neurotic compulsions when taking Adderall... I suspect that because I usually have at least a mild interest in picking, the amphetamines amplify this and cause me to "pay attention" more than I ordinarily would....I guess that's Adderall doing its job! I can't say that I have found much to help me overcome the desire to dig massive holes in myself for seemingly no reason, but large, covering band-aids appear to at least make me realize what I am doing sometimes and hide potentially tempting spots... Would it help for your daughter to keep band-aids on her fingers, or perhaps some of that liquid bandage stuff might at least reduce the damage to her skin? I'm sure you've considered rewards systems, etc...unfortunately I know exactly what damage I am doing to myself and the thought of the unsightly consequences doesn't do much to deter me, I'm afraid. Beyond this, I can't think of much else to tell you, except that perhaps alternative medications ought to be considered. Having lived my entire life with ADD, (only diagnosed when I was 18), I know how difficult this condition can be, but sometimes the medications themselves are worse than what they are treating; I have taken stimulants for years and have not found them to be beneficial beyond the first few years, with many unpleasant side-effects. Unfortunately, I have not found much of anything chemical to be of any use, and am well aware of how debilitating this seemingly subtle disease can be. An inability to focus on a movie, per se, doesn't seem so bad, but when you consider all of the frustrations and set-backs this condition can incur, it can be truly overwhelming and cause a myriad assortment of other problems, such as being perceived as "inconsiderate" from chronic tardiness, all the way down to severe depression; when every day is what normal people would consider a disastrous one, it kind of gets to you. This, actually, ties into the emotional aspect of picking, as well, which I am sure you have read about on this website, among others. All I can truly recommend in the long run are for you to educate yourself on the various aspects and emotional dangers of ADHD, exercise extreme patience with your daughter, and continue to show the love and concern you obviously feel for her... she is lucky to have a mother who does not sweep her problems under one rug and simply medicate her, as so many do. I wish you both the best of luck...
March 24, 2009

In reply to by Brooke

Ditto to everything you said. This could have been written by me - it's a relief to read it. I even asked various doctors if the adderall could be what was making my picking worse, and they were like: "Nah, not likely." But it was such an obvious connection to me! I struggle with picking still, but using skills I learned in Behavior Therapy can help somewhat. Here is my favorite: when you go into the crazy picking trance, and are yelling at yourself in your head to stop, but you just can't (this is what happens to me - maybe it doesn't happen to you) you have to yell at yourself out loud. It really does jerk you out of the trance. With me, I'm usually fine if I don't start, but if I start then I tear my entire face apart. Anyway, I just wanted to respond b/c I feel like such a freak about it, and you seem to have reached a calm place. It is nice to hear there are other people.
October 06, 2010

In reply to by lilrhodap

My inner voice screams at me too to stop, but just one more....I'm helping my sin to look better by getting rid of that blackhead, the dark bit ICANN see way under my fair skin HAS to come out... I tossed my magnifying mirror out a few weeks ago (had it on my vanity in front of the window so I was comfortable picking AND could see every flaw), and 2 days later I felt like a cracked ot junkie---searching FRANTICALLY through every junk/makeup/bathroom container, even old purses, trying t find a compact mirror. Finally found one, and although I've never done drugs, when I found it the incredible RELIEF I felt was how an addict must feel when they can finally get that needle fulbof heroin in their arms. Scary.
October 06, 2010

In reply to by Dancingpopes

This is an interesting subject, highly controversial, and the strange thing is, when I joined here, I started reading a few posts made mostly by mothers who noticed their daughters (I don't think anyone has mentioned this affecting their sons yet, not sure),....but the moms noticed when their child was diagnosed with ADHD and medicated for it (I can think of three medications that were discussed), they noticed their daughters then and only then started chronic skin picking. I'm confident all kids, people, do it to some degree, but the crux of the debate was: with the addition of the medication, the physical act of abusive picking started. Very frustrated people. Well, I decided to add my name to the list after reading some of these stories. I wasn't diagnosed until I was an adult, and went unmedicated and scatterbrained. Then my doctor started me on Ritalin. Within 2 months or so, it started. First in private seclusion, and then I didn't care who saw me. We had a glass room, glass french doors, and I would sit in there, utensils in hand, big ole mirror, not caring. Thus it began. I stopped taking the meds, but the behavior didn't go away. I am back on the Ritalin, have been for 5 months now, and for the most part, much more manageable. I have my moments, some bad, but I would say "most" of the time, even if I don't "take care of my skin," I've drastically reduced "abusing, hurting, and damaging my skin." I'm much more aware and conscious. It may not be logical. It may not be a correlation. Just an observationl
July 13, 2009

In reply to by Brooke

I know that ADD is a tough condition to face and you can't just fight it alone but I feel like I should warn you about Adderall. My mother is attending drug rehab programs Los Angeles because of this drug, she had it all under control being always under medical supervision and somehow she slept on the addiction side. It was difficult to admit she has dependency problems but her doctor helped her make a good decision.
February 25, 2009
I have ADHD and I have tried almost every medication. I also have been a picker as long as I can remember. I have noticed from experience, when I was on to high a dose of my current meds, Vyvanse, I picked a lot more. I also picked a lot on ridalin. For me though i pick with or without my meds, but there is a correlation. I think is has something to do with me being a very tactile person. Be careful not to cry in front of her about it though. My mom cries whenever I pick at my acne, and I feel like the worst person in the universe. unfortunately it does nothing to alleviate my picking urges. Also most kids pick at there fingers to some extent, especially those with ADD, but it becomes an issue if it is paired with other things, like acne picking, pulling out hair, scratching the scalp, biting nails, picking the nose, popping zits. Etc. I wouldn't worry to much, but if you catch her eating her dead skin, that would definitely be a warning sign of a picking fixation. The thing about ADD/ADHD is that you can become fixed on a lot of things, such as TV, video games, ideas, crushes, etc. So both the meds and the ADHD seem to increase the intensity of the picking, almost like a cycle. The good thing about fixation in ADHD is that when you figure out what you like, in my case Biology, you are REALLY good at it, and it is very fascinating. School is hard, but now that I am in College I have learn to view my ADHD as more of a gift, a special part of my personality which gives me more drive to explore, create, and empathize. Picking however, I have found nothing good out of it. Only that I feel like I am addicted to a drug, which is weird because there is not chemical component to it.
March 24, 2009

In reply to by jb279416

Yes - don't cry or freak about it, or act disappointed. My mom is the same, and it does not help, and it makes me feel like I can't talk to her about it at all. Be cool about it, and not disgusted (not that you sound disgusted or unsupportive at all), because then she can come to you if SHE is freaking out. You could also ask her doctor about prescribing a low dose of anti-anxiety medication.
October 03, 2011

In reply to by jb279416

I feel the exact same way!!! I love, thrive and aborb info like never before on this medication and for the first time in my life I feel like I am smart and I just had a problem before that hindered me from aborbing and paying attention but the picking makes me feel horrible and ashamed of myself! I'm just glad that I finally decided to do some research on this and found other's have the same problme as me so I don't feel like such a freak! When my friends (only 3 are allowed to see me like this. However after this thursday I'm not allowing anyone to see my face) they react so strongly and scold me to "Leave your face alone"? "Why are you doing that"?! "You need to stop"?! But they don't get it! I can't it's not that easy!!! I have found when I travel for work every other week, I go and do things after work and I'm not in my room till it's pretty much time for bed that I don't have the urge and my face clears up. But when I work from home remotely then I do it. I don't take the meds on the weekends just to avoid this situation and allow my face to heel. In a way I love what it's done but I feel trapped because of what it makes me do too! I'm a prisoner to myself, in my own home!!! I was even worried people were going to ask me if I was home this weekend and ask to get together and I was going to lie and say I decided to spend the weekend out of town wehre I go for work to hang with people! I've never had to lie like that before to avoid people seeing me!
January 10, 2012

In reply to by cantstop81

@cantstop81 I can relate to everything you just said. I started on vyvanse in November and my face picking has intensified at an alarming rate. I've always been a face picker but I always had pretty clear skin and my face would be fine the morning after. Now, I seriously look like a meth addict. Everywhere I have picked has turned into a red scab and won't go away. I counted I have 32 spots on my face compared to the usual 1 or 2 that I might have. It's horrifying! I also go into a trace and will stay up until 3 or 4am for an hour picking my face. I have a 3 and 4 year old... Not good. It's like I can't stop until I snap out of it and survey the damage. This medicine has giving me not only horrible acne (which I've never had in my life, I'm 28)... I have it on my face, behind my ears (in hairline), down neck, and back. I have not had any back acne since I was a teen. I also obsessively started epalating my legs (Which is a device that quickly pulls your leg hairs out at the root... Instead of shaving or waxing). I was doing this everyday (supposed to use it every 4 weeks) because I had missed hairs so I would spend hours getting every hair out then I got horrible ingrown hairs... Oh boy. OCD overload (which i didn't have until now), I would pick out every single in grown hair. My legs are so tore up. My boys want to go to an indoor pool but at this point my legs are a scabby mess. Just in August I represented my state in a Mrs pageant and now look at me now... A meth looking face and torn up legs. I love the effects of the meds... I've never been this focused in my life... All the housework is done everyday, I'm a cleaning and organizing freak but I am messing up my face and body so much. I just can't go back to my old disorganized life. So don't know what to do!!!
January 30, 2012

In reply to by Bellamomma

I too can relate, I have picked for years and years, it started in the 90's when I had a bit of a cocaine addiction, after stopping, I was diagnosed with bi-polar, ocd, adhd, and anxiety disorder..,,like ok wow, started taking different prescribed drugs for treatment off and on for years, depending if I had insurance or not, WELL, my daughter was diagnosed ADHD in 2nd grade and they prescribed adderall and clonadine...she eventually stopped the adderall coz she didn't like how she felt on it, which became my "fill in" drug because I too took Adderall but was always out of my script in 3 weeks..but for a couple of those days while on it i would pick my face into oblivion....I was addicted to it and it was very expensive, and had no insurance so I stopped cold turkey. But then I would go to the diet doctor and get phentametrazine, and was picking my body apart , I would look like a meth addict and call off work, or make up a zillion excuses over the years as to why my face keeps getting this way at least once a month That was some years ago, now i take Ritalin, and I pick my whole body, the ingrown hair areas on my legs, my chest, my face....sometimes i realize i am doing it but "i have to get that last lil white thing in the gorged out hole I just made", and keep digging at, like i get pleasure from digging out the center.....well ok, now I'm like OMG i did it again, i look horrible, and its like I have to punish myself for mutilating my body and must do something to heal it...ok i have to go somewhere...gotta put on makeup,,,but after a lil while it cakes in the scabs that are hardened, ...can't have a scab so i pic it.....i have always picked at my face n twirled my hair since i was little but THIS is horrible...Im on this site because i have been picking all day, those same places that never really fully healed and is kinda soft from the month prior because I get some weird satisfaction out of the obsessive picking then have to punish myself for a couple weeks, making excuses to even strangers that I have some kind of skin disorder...(I do have adult cystic acne) but right now I need an overnight remedy...yea think i would have grown out of this by now but I can't get as much done without the drug, sigh..btw....I turn 49 on Sunday.............I would love to be able to talk about this with someone who understands..
March 17, 2009
My daughter has ADHD and interestingly enough, when she's NOT on her medication, she picks at her thumb nail. It got so bad that the nail had practically disappeared. But when she takes her meds (now Vyvanse), she's ok.
November 08, 2009
I am glad to know I am not the only person who has a problem with this, although I wish no one did! My picking has also existed ever since the start of adolescence, but has been exacerbated severely by Adderall. I am still taking it because it helps me get through work, and having a daughter with ADHD. She takes Adderall too, and she has a different compulsion, which is that she is constantly popping her wrists and ankles. I do not know of anything that can help stop these behaviors. I am sure stopping Adderall would make them better, but this medication has helped my daughter especially, since other things she's tried have caused her not to be able to sleep, have a poor appetite, high blood pressure or severe moodiness, and trouble getting up in the morning. Moodiness and poor self esteem are becoming problems for her again. For me, it's just the picking, but it is extreme. No makeup can hide it, and I no longer care about going to the beach in summer, and refuse to be seen in my underwear--forget being naked! I pick all over, and cannot stop once I start. It made me cry to read this blog, because I know what a bad problem it is for me. I am 29 and single, and I have a long time to live, I cannot imagine picking this way for the rest of it. I want help, but have no insights......anyone else?
June 23, 2010

In reply to by mhocking

I have been picking my scalp since I was 14. The urge comes and goes. I am now a 33-year-old law student and diagnosed with ADHD. The Adderall has helped me finish my under-grad degree, take the LSAT, and get into law school. It has also helped to elevate the picking to a new height. The only time I have experienced relief is when life offers little stress. I grew hair back in three places on my head last summer that were formally bald, now I have 5 bald spots. We need to talk to a therapist that can help us stop. Otherwise, I may never.
February 02, 2011

In reply to by mhocking

i'm turning 21 on february 7th and i'm tired of feeling like my skin is holding me back from being the beautiful, confident girl that i once was. i used to be so out-going and energetic. now i just feel closed off from society and isolated. i wish you luck. hopefully once i am over this for good, laser resurfacing will be an option.
October 03, 2011

In reply to by nomore

I'm also thinking and looking into getting some peel done to help reduce the scars I have. I think it's sad because most people get thier acne scars from when they were a teenager but I'm getting mine starting at 29 because that's when I started taking this medicine. I too feel embarrassed and horrified about it. Not only that, since I started doing it to my thighs in hopes to reduce the damage of doing it to my face I have dealt with another problem. How am I going to date, get serious with someone and down the road it lead to intimacy? How can I let someone see my thighs adn the state they are in?!! How can I expalin that without sounding like a complete lunatic not to mention completely turn the person off?!!! I have so much self-loathing of myself because of it now and I just wanna stop!
October 03, 2011

In reply to by mhocking

I would love to speak with you about this because if you read my post we are in the same situation! You have been the only one though that does exactly what I do. I don't know if the only way for contact is through this since I just signed up or if this reply sends it to your email. I just dont want to post my email address on here. Please advise and let me know if there is a way we can communicate. Thanks.
February 02, 2011
im also a picker and have been from childhood. just started taking bupropion xl150 and the urge to pick has stopped. i took adderal before and it made it worse. i think it is because wellbutrin is much milder, but only adults can take it. hope my sharing helps.

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