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Simmo , 19 May 2018

New to the site and just recently been diagnosed with excoriation disorder

Hi not sure if anyone will read this, I am half way through my second round of CBT and within the 3rd session my therapist brought up my compulsion of picking at my skin or obsessing over imperfections (such as after gum being numbed at dentists).
I knew that I had a picking issue but never realised that it was a disorder. I have had it for as long as I can remember, so much so I used to pull out non-wobbly baby teeth in amongst other 'odd behaviours' soon as he explained the disorder to me it made me feel less of a weirdo and more that I am not alone.

I found this website a few days after my session and have downloaded the app (for a month now) and use it religiously, its made me realise that every day how chronic this situation is. Although I have someone in my life who cares deeply about me and knows about this disorder I still feel very much isolated and misunderstood, as outside looking in it would appear that it's something if I'm aware of I can stop etc.

Sorry for the rambling just what I'm trying to say is that I'd appreciate other people going through this or have found light at the end of the tunnel to talk to, and any advice and tips on how to stop the picking soo much as I hate it with a passion

4 Answers
May 19, 2018

Hmm...I also would be interested in chatting with someone who was able to beat this affliction for good. I don't think it's a common occurrence thought. I think skin pickers can get better...but I don't know if many of them are able to quit for good. It's somewhat unlikely...but not impossible. You can improve the symptoms, but full healing is a mysterious concept. I think the people who do become fully cured simply develop another type of obsession. It simply morphs from one to another.
What are you doing currently? What is your strategy of containing the urges/behavior as well as healing the damage? Are you trying any supplements, are you getting sufficient vitamin D? Are you trying to exercise and stay active? Are you using hydrocolloid Band-Aids? Manuka honey for wounds?
What stood out is you mentioning that you obsess over imperfections. Which imperfections? Are we talking about physical imperfections in general or just consumed with how skin looks/feels?

May 20, 2018

If I have a pain or something that feels weird I will obsess over it. But in essence of the picking side if its a lump or what feels like beginning of a spot/blister I will pick. I even pick at cracks in desks or walls etc. It's not just my own 'imperfections' as such but a colleague had a scab on his head and I had the urge to pick at his head and also my boss had ink on his finger, as it turned out, but that black mark had me focused and I wanted rid of it.

Now I don't go round picking other peoples scabs etc so I do have a form of control.

In essence of trying to resist my urges of physically picking I usually find I do it less so if my hands themselves are busy which is a bit of a rare occasion as only time they are busy are when I'm at work.

I broke my toe last year and haven't been right since so the exercise I used to do has gone out of the window so it's normal everyday exercise now, in terms of products for healing I use non, although as I suffer with slight excema and my foot with the broken toe has terrible damage to it skin wise I have now started to take salt baths and using appropriate creams to reduce the dryness and lessen the urge to need to pick away.

May 20, 2018

I can relate to the "I'm aware of it so why can't I stop" dialogue that you mentioned. In my own situation I have no one to turn to because they all view the condition in that light. I too have been suffering for as long as I can remember. I find myself existing as a conflict at times. I feel helpless and trapped, I just can't figure out why I cannot control my own hands from this form of self destruction.

June 02, 2018

I have picked the skin of my thumbs since I was 4 (that I know of -possibly even younger) to varying degrees throughout my life. I am now I am in my late 30s and it is the worst it has ever been. Creams and ointments don't work to heal the skin now that it has thickened and also cracks. I have tried every type of remedy to heal the skin. I have also been on medication for anxiety- sertraline 100mg and although it managed my nerves and settled my anxiety significantly, it didn't assist in the nervous energy and irritability in me that I feel leads to strong urges to pick. I don't have unrealistic thoughts that lead to my picking so CBT- cognitive behavioural treatment was not an effective treatment for me.
I am really wanting to quit and believe that replacing picking with self-care- creams for my hands in combination with a medicine for this constant neurosis in my DNA could help... I feel too ashamed to tell a GP. I think I need a referral to a psychiatrist and dermatologist.

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