Online Test

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

carolinathumb , 04 Jan 2013

obsessive cuticle picker, help!

I've been picking at my cuticles for years now but it seems like a life time. It began in high school and got to the point where I picked almost both of my thumb nails entirely off. I was able to grow them back by wearing fake nails, but the habit never stopped. They also grew back with huge bumps and horizontal ridges. I am constantly digging into the side of my thumbs when I'm nervous, anxious, or even just bored... sometimes I don't even realize that I'm doing it. I think about the skin all the time and it feels like I'm extremely OCD about it. If there is fresh skin or if it hasn't been all the way "lifted" up out of my cuticle, I can't do anything until it pick it. I get so frustrated when I lose my favorite tweezer clippers and will pause my day until I find them or go and buy a new pair. If I don't have them with me, I'll use any tool with a dull or sharp point including mechanical pencils, paper clips, staples, safety pins, earrings etc My friends and family definitely notice and try to be supportive by asking me to stop but it's so hard. I moisturize, get manicures, wear band aids (I end up picking through them), but nothing has helped. The worst part is, the pain feels good sometimes and I enjoy it. But only the dull pain before the bleeding starts for some reason. It also gives me a feeling of satisfaction, especially when I've spent an hour picking at one small piece and have finally been able to remove it. I want to stop and I've tried but really nothing works. I don't know what to do anymore or where to go. I can't pin point a the time in school when I started, but I do know it gets worse now when I'm anxious or uncomfortable. Does anyone else have this problem? Any input at all would be extremely helpful. I've never talked about it out loud, but now I'm just a loss of what to do.
1 Answer
January 05, 2013
Totally know what you're on about. I have general anxiety disorder and have been on ssri drugs for a year now. This has really lowered my anxiety but has had no effect on my picking. Even if it originated because of anxiety I think it's a habit/addiction that's gone way beyond being linked to worry. In fact I do it when I'm bored as it soothes me. I've picked for 44 years and tbh have had minimal success stopping mainly I feel because the benefits have always outweighed the downs (I know most 'normal' people would see this as crazy). I'm quite motivated now and want to keep that way but I do know I get to a point where I can't be bothered with employing the will power anymore and just succumb. I really want to get some tips and mutual support going as I'm sure this would help us all!! Currently I'm getting through with gloves, hand cream and sharp words to myself - oh and knitting!!! Ps you mentioned paper clips - made me remember how I would take great pleasure from 'sewing' my cuticle skin with a pin or needle. God that sounds gross even to me! All the very best fro. Me to you x

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