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as2584 , 14 Jan 2008

coping skills for picking

i just came across this website and i have to say i felt relieved knowing that other people pick their scalp and not just me. Besides taking SSRI's i would really like to know what specific coping mechanisms can help someone like me... what works? A 12-step program was mentioned, but if this truly is a website designed to help people like us. I wish there were more answers. Because i have a therapist, and ive tried the drugs. And i acknowledge that i do this behavior not due to OCD, but because of anxiety. i want to stop, i just dont know how. for someone who has been there. do you have any suggestions? thank you....
4 Answers
January 14, 2008
Hey there, You are not alone with this issue. My sister-in-law finally started wearing acrylic nails as her only way out. She loves them and has done well this way. I am honestly too embarrassed to go to a nail salon to have it done...and I'm cheap. But, mostly embarrassed. I have been very successful before at quitting picking. I ordered, from Amera nails which is now online, a file, buffer, and a couple of nail creams. This helped me for many years. When I went back to finish a college degree it set me back to picking. I then conquered it again through the same method and did well for a good long time. I recently reverted back, but don't want to give up. I would suggest the "competing behavior" technique, which in my case has been buffing. Or when I am in the car, squeezing the steering wheel for about 20 seconds. It seems to lessen that weird urge we all know about. But, as my daughter says, "Drinking is a lot more harmful coping mechanism, and you don't do that!" We must count our blessing wherever we can. (Even if we don't want to use our yucky looking fingers to do so!! I hope it isn't too cruel to joke. Laughing at yourself can help.
January 15, 2008

In reply to by musicnatflute

hi...thank you for replying. I was doing some google searches and came across someone also speaking of fake nails. i think i can try that out, but i am also cheap hehe. i like my nails and dont want to buff them but sacrafices must be made. i tried putting gloves on the other night to fight the need to pick in bed. it worked for about 10 minutes. i guess you have to start somewhere. also...i tried getting an ice cube and rubbing it on my head. the coldness on my scalp tingled and i wondered if it was the sensation of the ice cube which stopped me from picking. See, i read this article about things to do to help cutters from self-mutilating. and one suggestion was using an ice cube on the skin. It worked like the gloves for a little bit. But i guess one has to start some where and build up a resistance. thank you again for replying. and your daughter is very right...i will think about other addictions that our out there and be happy i am not battling those as well. take care
January 17, 2008

In reply to by as2584

hi, i had acrylic nails a few years ago and it was much more difficult to pick with them on, but they are expensive to maintain. i've tried wearing gloves around the house and at night too. as long as you keep them on it works. :-) when i have a bad episode of picking, i'll sometimes file my nails down as close as i can and keeping lotion on hands and part of body that i'm trying to pick . it's harder to pick with the greasiness of lotion to deter you. other than that i've tried playing with a stress or koosh ball when the urge to pick hit me. one time i wore a rubberband around my wrist so when i caught myself picking i'd snap it to sting my wrist and gave my husband permission to snap it if he caught me. that was kind of a behavioral training technique i guess. that worked for awhile too. i also sometimes write 'no picking' in red on all the mirrors that i used to pick my face. at this point in my life though i haven't tried any of these recently. i just seem overwhelmed by the urge to pick and i guess i feel i've already damaged my skin anyway.....what's a few more scars when it is giving me a 'feel good' outlet to avoid my emotional turmoil and anxiety. hope you find some good techniques to help .....
January 24, 2008
Hi as2584 I am a fellow scalp picker. (I eat the scabs too, eeugh!) I have been to the doctor since coming on this site and mentioned picking. He says it could just be a habit and asked me if I though something bad would happen if I didn't pick, well, no, I don't think that, but I do find it impossible to stop my actions. Even if I realise I am picking (as i do it automatically) and say to myself 'stop picking' my fingers still pick until I've got all the scabs off . Some things I've tried recently to stop (and it's helped a bit): Washing my hair EVERY day- I think the build up of product makes my scalp feel scummy and itchy and makes me want to scratch more Keeping my nails shorter and painted all the time as I bite/chew them less when polished and so am less tempted to put them in my mouth Sending myself text reminders twice a day that say 'Don't Pick' Writing it on my daily planner every night before I go to bed for the next day 'Don't Pick! My next step is to write it on a note to keep displayed in the car to remind me when I'm driving as I pick a lot still in the car... Hope some of this helps? The ideas others have suggested about false nails might help too. Take care. Let me know how you get on.

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