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Ward513 , 05 Oct 2013

Scalp picking...?

This is my first post here. I found this website today on Google because my head hurts so bad right now I can't even put it up. I think I may suffer from dermatillomania. I've never even heard of this do I've been researching it for about an hour now. I am a 22 year old female. I have an 11 month old son and a 27 year old husband. I am currently in Paramedic school and work as an EMT for a local 911 service. I also work as a phlebotomist (blood drawer) at a near hospital. I have recently started seeing a psychiatrist and therapist. I've been going for almost two months now. During my first visit with the psych I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, general phobia, PTSD, general anxiety, social anxiety and inattentive ADHD. I have been picking at my scalp for as long as I can remember. I don't ever remember not doing it. I always thought I had acne or I was allergic to something in shampoo and that's why I had these sores on my head and I was just popping them, kinda like when you have a huge pimple and you naturally feel the urge to pop it. Hitch now looking back doesn't make since because I don't squeeze the sores. I also have really thick hair so when I would pull hair out on accident or have hair attached to the scab or skin I never really thought it was a big deal. I don't know how I get the sores. I don't know if it's something I initiate or what but I know when I find one I pick and pick at it and it gets so much bigger and hurts! I always have at least one sore that I pick at but sometimes it gets really bad. Like right now my head is covered in them. I tried to count them earlier for this post but every time I start feeling around I find something that need to come off. I have been constantly picking my head for about two days now. Usually I do it like 3 times a day but the last two days have been at anytime I have a free hand. I realized it yesterday in class and it's been driving me crazy! Why can't I stop right now. Why am I doing it so much. I don't have any extra stressors than normal. And it hurts, sometimes it hurts so bad I can barely stand it. But I can't stop. I have to get that piece of skin or scab off of the sore. Why am I doing this to myself? Why do I continue when it hurts? It sounds so stupid. Like why would anyone continue something that hurts so bad. And I don't just stop after one time on that sore. I pick at the same ones (+ any new ones I find) until they bleed, sometimes a lot. Which makes them last forever. The longest one I remember having was there for at least 4-6 months and was about the diameter of my pinky when it was scratched down to bleeding. I am also weirdly obsessed with both getting the scab/skin part and looking at it. Like I will stop everything I'm doing to get it off of my head and out of my hair. And I get excited when I feel a scab/skin in my hair that was from an earlier pick that I lost or fell off by itself. I have actually been generally upset when I have been interrupted or bump while I'm trying to pick or I did pick but haven't gotten the scab out of my hair yet. It really annoys me when I lose a scab in my hair. Especially a good one. And if I get more than one out of my hair in one sitting I like to keep them together. No one has ever said anything to be before about it but I know they notices me digging in my hair. I can't not do it though. I try to wait until I'm alone or in my car or something but I really can not wait sometimes. If I don't do it when I get the urge then it's all I can think about until I do. I know this is all weird. Someone please tell me I'm not just off the wall crazy. Does this sound like anyone else out there? I don't understand any of this. When I found out about dermatillomania I was weirdly relieved that there might be an explanation as to what is wrong with me. Someone help!! Also, I constantly bite at my cheeks and tounge for any extra skin. Is this related?? I've been doing this since at least I was 6 because I remember someone asking me abou it. Thanks in advance, E
1 Answer
October 08, 2013
You're not alone. Reading your post is like reading my own words. I have been engaging for 26 years. I was Dx in 2000 w/ OCD. I purposely went to a Psych after seeing blood coat my hands and I knew by that, that something had to be "wrong" w/ me. My Psych said it was related to anxiety/OCD. I have since challenged myself to stop many, many, many times. I fail often as I "catch" myself already engaged. It's as if my hands are on auto-pilot. I think mentally for me it's the only thing I have to calm myself if I am feeling anxious. My goal is to try and find other (healthy) go-to scenarios. This is a really, really terrible habit. My beautiful hair is a mess all the time. I have so many fly-aways only due to where I have accidently pulled out my hair and other hair is re-growing. I have even created bald spots that are so embarrassing. It's been helpful to know my triggers though in controlling. One trigger is the week before my period - PMS amps up anxiety. I am glad you have a professional to talk to. I hope you are able to stop.

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