Bad habit or Mental Disorder


Online Test For Skin Picking Disorder

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February 20, 2018

For me it's definitely more than just a bad habit, it's more like an addiction. I think it has to do with anxiety and ocd, but I'm not sure.
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February 20, 2018

The doctor who diagnosed me said anxiety triggers the picking. Thanks RoseGoldGal for your response
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February 21, 2018

I also had a therapist that said it was anxiety related. I do think it definitely has something to do with dopamine levels in the brain.
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February 21, 2018

I also had a therapist that said it was anxiety related. I do think it definitely has something to do with dopamine levels in the brain.
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February 23, 2018

It's a mental disorder. I think it can be severe to the point of dellusional thinking. The convincing feeling of believing that a tiny clogged pore is somewhat of a disadvantage is surely a distorted mindset. The main question is....why do tiny clogged pores bother us so much? What do we think will happen if we simply leave them alone? During my worst phases I felt on the brink of psychosis and had no ability to restrain myself from this horrible behavior. It's frightening to look back at such moments and think that it was me who behaved that way. I think it's a serious mental disorder. There are phases of it getting worse and then better...so it's not necessarily a stagnant, one dimensional disorder. Its constantly changing in intensity. But what I have recently found is that there are possible distractions that can give us a break. For me it was a recent winter eczema outbreak. I was so focused on healing my red itchy patches of skin that I didn't care much about the picking. It was as if my obsession switched to self care and moisturizing my skin constantly instead of picking it. So quite possibly if I have further medical issues in life, I might give up the somewhat petty and annoying habit of picking. It's as if the mind rationalizes that it's not worth it to pick when there are worse problems in life.
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February 23, 2018

Serene, thanks so much for your thoughts and experiences. I can identify with what you shared. I think one of my lesions may be infected. I have antibiotic but have not used it. My question is what will happen if I put the antibiotic on? Will I be able to pick? Then I think if I'm looking for attention.... I know putting the medicine on is the right thing to do but.... I know it sounds crazy....
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February 23, 2018

What sort of a topical antibiotic is it? There are usually directions found on packaging if it's safe to put anything on open wounds. I don't understand what you mean by mentioning "looking for attention". Please explain the context.
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February 23, 2018

The doctor prescribed Mupirocin 2% ointment. I just finished picking at it and I put the antibiotic on. What I meant by "looking for attention" is ... am I doing it for attention or sympathy? I've had a few hours to ponder your question and I don't believe I'm doing it for those reasons. I believe I have a mental disorder that manifest by picking.
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February 24, 2018

Do you try to conceal the picked spots? I am deeply ashamed of the habit and conceal any wounds as best as I can while simultaneously healing them as quickly as possible... therefore I know for sure that I don't look for any attention due to this habit. I even sit at home for days until I allow myself to be seen once everything heals up. I guess it can still be counted as a mental disorer if you pick at yourself in order to illicit pity from others. Maybe that might be the case for some individuals. It can be a subconscious process.
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February 24, 2018

Let me know if that antibiotic ointment helps to heal the wound quicker. Maybe I need to get that for myself as well.
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February 24, 2018

Yes, I try to conceal the picked spots; I usually stay home. When I do go out, I make sure to wear long pants. It's hard to cover up my hands and the cuticles around my fingernails. I have a couple of spots on my face. I'm trying really hard not to pick at my face. Honestly, I haven't tried to let them heal (except for the sore i picked clean and put antibiotic earlier today). There's so much shame, guilt, embarrassment, disgust, ugliness etc. I've been picking since 2014 (I never realized I was doing it). Even now, I pick without realizing what I'm doing. Serene, are you on meds for anxiety?
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February 24, 2018

I will let you know if the antibiotic works, serene.
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February 26, 2018

I am concerned that you haven't been diligent in taking care of the wounds and the wound healing. Do know that proper wound healing is necessary in order to avoid extreme scarring. The quicker a wound heals, the less the chance of advanced scarring. I have been on antipsychotic medication before for around 5 years in my teens. Seroquel helped 100 percent in getting rid of the picking urges. But as soon as I stopped...the urges came back and I began to self medicate by smoking marijuana. Marijuana helped around 50 percent. Are you considering meds? I am reluctant to go back because of the weight gain, unmotivated feeling, numbing of emotions, etc. But I do understand that sometimes it's so difficult to live life that meds are an option. Just make sure you find a psychiatrist who is open about all the possible negative side effects, particularly discontinuation syndrome. Some people can't ever get off these drugs. I know because my brother has been suffering for a decade trying to get off them and he can't. His body became fully dependent on SSRI medication and every time he tries to taper off, his OCD becomes extreme, along with akathesia, insomnia, suicidal thoughts,etc. I would say that SSRI meds are most dangerous and some report them being more addictive for the body than street drugs. There are forums dedicated to people who struggle with discontinuation syndrome, a portion of them do commit suicide after giving up the struggle. Most psychiatrists do not talk about this. They just rely on the " different and unique physiology of individuals" as a quick cop out. People do react differently to meds...but you never know if you will be the unfortunate one who gets a bad reaction or becomes dependent on these drugs. Fortunately I have taken antipsychotic meds...which aren't as dangerous as the SSRIs. And fortunately I was able to taper off them gradually.
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February 26, 2018

Serene, I must be honest with you and say I have not been diligent in taking care of my wounds. I'm quite ashamed as a matter of fact. I finally figured out that if I let my wounds heal, somehow I would no longer be a picker. When I was diagnosed with depression and started taking Effexor, when I started to feel better (took a couple of months), I thought that meant I no longer had depression. But I know that's not true; whether I have good or bad days, I have depression. It's the same with picking; whether I pick or not, I'm a picker. It's a mental disorder. My psychiatrist is going to prescribe something for anxiety. I hope to hear from him tomorrow. Tomorrow, I am going to put the antibiotic on ALL my wounds. I'm going to try my best not to pick. Would it be okay to contact you tomorrow?
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February 26, 2018

So picking is a coping behavior for you which you feel is helping you in someway (emotional), yet harming you physically. And you are simultaneously reluctant to give up the habit because in some way it serves to soothe you? You seem to want to hold on to this behavior. Is it a way that you also subconsciously punish yourself? You must get to the bottom of this in order to quite possibly help yourself monumentally. What if you do allow all your wounds to heal and your picking urges diminish. What do you fear then, not having the skin picking as a crutch? I do remember at a stressful point in my early 20s I picked almost as a form of self punishment. I felt that I had given up on myself and allowed the urges to dominate me. I never want to experience that sort of bleak sadness and emotional defeat again. It's a scary place to be.
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February 26, 2018

I had taken a brief break from this forum but now I feel a bit more sane since I had time to emotionally recouperate. I will probably be on for the next few days visiting periodically. I find that sometimes I get overwhelmed with the sadness of similar experiences because I tend to empathize and internalize the pain and suffering of others. I always hope to somehow be able to fully help myself in order to be of benefit to others who are dealing with this frustrating affliction. It can be emotionally taxing to understand what others are going through and not being able to help. I feel that we are all secretly fighting this monster on our own. At the end of the day we have to face ourselves and our impulsive urges. What a sad and isolating realization.
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March 18, 2018

I haven't been around lately, I've been trying to get a grasp of this mental disorder. I've noticed for the last 3 weeks that my picking has increased. My psychiatrist is weaning me off Effexor from 225 mg to 75 mg. He wants me to stay with 75 mg for 5 weeks, then start taking Zoloft. I thought it was a drastic cut and even call him but that's what he wants. I think that's part of the reason for my increased picking. I also know when I think of my past, it triggers (I hope you can relate). The dermatologist prescribed an antibiotic ointment and for the most part, it works. I have over 50 wounds and when I pick my legs, it's hard to walk... I've tramatized them. I have wounds on my arms, hands, face, and breast. I now have about 13 wounds now. Over half are in the healing process and I'm glad. I'm not sure where I'm going with this...I think it's my way of sharing what's going on. I see the dermatologist on Tuesday. I'm sending all of you encouragement and support.