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Mind_Over_Matter , 25 May 2013

Is This Normal?

I am new to the forum and have just started my research on CSP yesterday. The one thing I found interesting is how many of the different symptoms I have and thought it was completely normal. It wasn't until my picking got so bad did I really dive into this diagnosis. For the past nine months I have been picking at my scalp. It originally started as one spot on the left side of my head that at it's worst was about the size of a nickel. I knew six months ago that I shouldn't have kept doing this and told myself that if I didn't stop I would have a permanent bald spot but, that thought wasn't strong enough to stop me. I now have two additional spots on my scalp that I constantly feel the urge to pick at. I like how it feels when you pick at the scab and if any of the solid scab part is left, I feel the NEED to get rid of it. I have wanted to stop and since I work in healthcare I know of the possible infections this could cause. I even told my mother about this via telephone and couldn't stop picking while I was telling her. I don't understand why it's such an obsession and seems to come and go for me. I constantly run my fingers through my hair to see if I can find anything and sometimes there is nothing but other times I'm on mission to make something happen. Is this normal? Is this a feeling shared by others? The crazy thing is I first did this when I was 10 and it was so embarrassing when people noticed but it never stopped me from doing it. After that spot healed, I don't recall doing anything to that extent until recently. I have noticed a couple of other symptoms such as the picking at nail cuticles and lip picking. The nails I have picked at for a long time and it is definitely an anxiety/nervous driven habit, but I never thought it was out of the ordinary to peel away the cuticle until it couldn't be picked anymore. I also peel the skin on my lips. If my lips are chapped or I just run my tongue over my lips and feel there could be loose skin, I will pick at it till I feel it's smooth or my lip is bleeding. I never would have combined all these symptoms into one diagnosis. Even as I type this my inner monologue is telling me that I'm overreacting and it's just a little stress but after a little research I think I may dermatollimania. I'm not sure what causes the scalp picking to come and go but keep the lip and cuticle picking an everyday occurrence. I had bad acne when I was younger and constantly picked at the back acne which now has left the upper part of my back with a permanent scar. It doesn't look hideous it's brown in color and looks like a VERY large birthmark. I lump all that together and throw on the fact that I am anxious all the time and have been since I was very young (like 5 years old) I wonder if I was under reacting? I am already on anti-anxiety medications and discussed this issue with my psychiatrist today and felt like it wasn't a huge issue but was told that I needed to see if the medication change works and if not I need to "let him know, before it gets out of hand". What the heck does that mean?! I don't know what to do and my family just keeps telling me to stop and when I'm doing it subconsciously verbally tell me to put my hands down. That actually embarrasses me more. Has anyone else felt like this? Should I be more concerned? Is there anything else I should be looking into? Any information would be greatly appreciated!
1 Answer
May 29, 2013
My dermatillomania started as scalp-picking after a sunburn when I was 11. I have since quit scalp-picking to the extent of scabbing (I just phased out of it when I was in my mid-teens), though I do still do what you described: "I constantly run my fingers through my hair to see if I can find anything and sometimes there is nothing but other times I'm on mission to make something happen. Is this normal?" No, it's not normal I'm afraid. My mania has since moved on to the much harder-to-hide area of my face and shoulders. I would say from my experience that they are one and the same thing. If you're lucky enough to have professional help already I'd say "let him know, before it gets out of hand".

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