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nerdjen , 22 Jun 2009

Correlation between skin picking and weight

Hi, I have actually never posted anything on a forum or a chat room or anything of the sort. I am 28 years old and have suffered from Dermatillomania since as long as I can remember. My main area of attack is my arms. I focus mainly on the backs of my upper arm but will make my way down to my wrists should I last in that trance-like state long enough. I have KP and will pop all of the bumps I could possibly find. I still feel shame for the way my skin looks but have in the last 2 years stopped wearing the long sleeve shirts to cover the scars and just deal with the looks or questions I get on the matter. I have to say, it's the "JUST STOP" comments that I find the most infuriating but then I remember that to those that don't have a disorder similar to this it's hard to understand. I have noticed over the years that in my intense urge to "control" the "imperfections" on my arms I have noticed this control transfers to binge eating and the guilt I feel with that. It's almost mirrored, the feeling of zen I get from picking as eating a bag of popcorn, pizza, (why always horrible food?) as I do focusing on my arms. And when I am trying to control those urges to overeat, I will pick to distract myself. I am sure both of these stem from the same "mania" states that revert back to symptoms of bi-polar disorders but I am wondering how common this is and if there would be anyone willing to give advice on ways to branch away from both these areas.
7 Answers
June 23, 2009
well, for me last night the urge to pick was strong and I did tend to deflect that with bing eating. I think there is a correlation between the two... And I also am diganosed with Bi-polar disorder. It has been a struggle for me latley because my husband and I are starting to try to have kids and I have been weening off my meds per my doctors orders.
June 23, 2009

In reply to by mamma

I have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder as well. I have been concerned with the same issue that you are currently going through. Have you noticed any issues while weening off the medications? I have been trying to cope without meds and I even have an appointment with a hypnotherapist. For me the urge to binge eat is almost as strong as picking and so neither of them really resolve the other for me. It's good to see that another has a similar issue.
August 09, 2009

In reply to by mamma

Hello, I am in Overeaters Anonymous ( -- you can find a live meeting in your city ; there are also daily phone meetings you can call into. Check out the website). I used to binge eat and now I don't, because of the support of other compulsive eaters. I have noticed through attending OA meetings and talking with other overeaters, that skin picking and hair pulling is very common amongst overeaters and people with eating disorders. For me, pulling acts for me much like food. I accept that like my addiction to food, I am addicted to picking and pulling. I am so grateful that there is a program for overeaters that works (prior to OA, I had tried EVERYTHING - personal trainers, diets, therapy, drugs, you name it). Much like overeating, there is a 12 step program for picking too. I have recieved help and encouragement beyond my wildest dreams through phone meetings of Skin Pickers Anonymous. No one can truly understand what I'm going through like another skin picker. No one understand the nightmare of picking body and face and not being able to stop whether I need or want to. My picking over time has only gotten progressively worse and caused me all the pain in the world. Like many people who have shared here, it's a living nightmare. It's insanity. And it's a double life, because on the "outside" I look like I've got it all together. Before these meetings I tried EVERYTHING - cog behavior therapy, habit reversal therapy, talk therapy, blockers, abstinence, group therapy, online programs (not free) and every SSRI on the market. I now have HOPE, people I can reach out to for support and I have experienced repreive from my picking as I never have before. I'm not facing this devistating illness alone anymore and I no longer have to "figure it out." Today I don't have to struggle like I used to because the 12 steps work for picking. I have seen MIRACLES of healing and recovery and I know there is hope because I know there is a solution. It works, it really does. Please call in if you need support. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. SKIN PICKERS ANONYMOUS PHONE MEETING - Sundays at 7PM EST. Call in #: 1-270-696-2525 / Access Code: 12128
August 06, 2009
I think there is a correlation. For me I am either picking or eating when I am supposed to be relaxing. If watching tv at night I am picking or eating. I do eat my scabs etc. Right now my biggest picking area is my scalp in the back at the hairline. It is gross. But I also do the nose, ears, any bump or imperfection I find. I will scatch the bump until it bleeds and then I will have a new scab to pick. I am overweight and don't really care. My kids, 9 & 6, also like to pick. My daughter whi is the 6 year old likes to pick my scabs. I used to pick at them when they were babies. Now they won't let me. My husband used to let me, but now he won't. It is a real problem. I have tools at work, home, car. I pick my face using a mirror while I drive! Now that is a distraction! I also have ADHD and can pick for hours at a time. Yesterday I was going to lay down and rest but instead I picked. My big toe is really hurting! I used to have perfect porcelin skin. But now it is just gross. My mom picks too, but she doesn't think she has a problem. She used to pick her feet til they bled. She picks her back and chin a lot now. I used to think the scabs were so gross and now I have them on my own face. Disgusting. But then when I see how many people pick too, I think its ok. It's better than being addicted to drugs or something like that. We just pick, big deal.
August 06, 2009
I also have KP, and my main attack place has been my arms for over 20 years. My family made me feel like I was a freak until I came across the A&E show, which led to this forum and comments from other folks who are just like me. It was so good to read what you said about people who tell me to "just stop." Like there's any "just" about it! This is a disease, but people try to make us feel ashamed of having it because it is obvious we have it. I don't wear long sleeves anymore, either. To heck with it. I am who I am, and I have many other good qualities, so people will just have to overlook the scars.
August 07, 2009
I have notice a correlation only in a sense that when I have not exercised and feel bloated and fat that I tend to pick more.. basically when I feel disgusted at myself in general. Then of course the opposite I get back at the gym and the weight slides off and so does my desire to tear into my face. picking for me in general correlates to how I feel about myself at any given time period.

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