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Nicole Leigh , 16 Oct 2015

Skin Picking an Sick Constantly

I currently am receiving treatment for anxiety/compulsion. But I think I have a symptom that I never told my therapist about, because it never ocurred to me as related. I pick the bottoms of my feet constantly; whenever they aren't already bleeding, and sometimes even if they are. My question is whether this 'dermatillomania' will affect my immune system? Should I be worried about infections or weakened ability to fight disease? Because I've been sick over and over again in the past month - stomach bugs, colds, etc.

2 Answers
October 17, 2015

You'd be best to ask a doctor, but I know it's tough accessing appointments etc. I'm not sure enough about how the immune system works but I'll say what I think? I would be worried about the wounds themselves getting infected. Especially being on your feet, if you don't already I'd be sure to bandage the wounds and keep them covered, avoid walking barefoot and make sure your footwear is really clean. If you get an infection in your feet then yes, I think it can affect the immune system? Otherwise if your body is busy healing your feet, it may be taking some needed resources away from other areas of your wellbeing and in turn affect your immune system. Also stress has a huge impact on your immune system, and chances are that stress may make you pick more, or the fact that you're picking more may make you stressed. It's a vicious cycle! I hope this helps, again I don't really have any medical knowledge, this is more based on general knowledge and observation of my own body.

October 17, 2015

Becc's written exactly what I would have and from my own experience I'm more likely to get ill (colds, flu, chest infections and kidney infections) when I'm in a bad space emotionally which goes hand in hand with where I am in terms of the frequency or intensity of my picking. I definitely think you should mention the picking to your therapist coz she/he can't properly help you find the right strategy for dealing with things with a piece of the picture missing. I know it's hard to bring up but trust me it's the best thing you'll do

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