my 9 y/o why is she destroying her body??


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March 07, 2010

because she is suffering from dermatillomania ma'm.. it's what i have and i cant control it either. i been suffering from it for 5 1/2 years.. i cant really give you any advice, i can just tell you that i feel your pain =/
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March 14, 2010

Hopeful, You acknowledge you have suffered from this for several years. How old are you now? When did it start? What treatments have you tried? Do you know what causes it?
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March 07, 2010

I would talk to a psychologist about it. She might be doing it to soothe herself. Perhaps she is anxious or is having a stressful time in some environment. For example if kids are picked on at school they might start doing self soothing behaviours. Maybe this is her way of coping with something. I would take her to a psychologist before she gets worse. The longer she does it, the harder it is to stop. These are just my thoughts: I am no form of doctor.
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March 14, 2010

I have considered this, I just don't see how this can be self soothing.
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March 14, 2010

Apparently any repetitive behaviour can be soothing. I do it when I'm stressed and find it very soothing. I can't describe it if you haven't experienced it yourself. But you zone out and can ignore things around you while you're doing it. Head scratching can also just feel good on its own. I had a problem with this about a year ago that I got rid of completely with a lot of effort. If you read more of the forum posts I think you will find some helpful tips and learn more about this condition. I have been picking for about 7 years and this forum has been the best thing for me. I have seen a psychologist about it and that did nothing. Also been to dermatologists and that of course did nothing. This forum has more tips many psychologist could give you because it is full of people struggling to stop. The people who write on this forum know what methods work and which don't. Many have also seen psychologists and have posted tips that their therapists have given them. So keep an eye out for a bit on this forum and see if anything works. Of course it will take time, so don't give up on a tip if it doesn't work the first few days. Best of luck :)
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October 21, 2010

Hi, I'm a freshman in highschool and I have been picking at every little bump on my body since I can remember. I know to someone who doesn't pick it sounds crazy, but I've done a little research and found out why I pick, so maybe this applies to ur daughter as well. 1) I'm stressed out and its a way to relieve stress, I know it doesn't sound like it helps but it really does. I dont know why either. 2) I'm sad or depressed and it's a way of mutilating myself without cutting and being noticed (i just figured this out but it doesn't neccasarily mean ur daughter is depressed, its prolly just me) and 3) I have a branch of OCD called OSP (obsessive skin picking) and I need my skin to always be perfect. Bumps and pimples make me upset and i want them gone, even though I realize after Ive picked at them tht there only getting worse when i resort to picking. ive decided to find a doctor and tell them, so i think this would be the best choice for your daughter. Therapy too. Also, don't pressure her or yell at her PLEASE! it only makes it so much worse. When I finnally stopped it was because my mom had made me feel so ugly and stupid for doing it- and since I was stressed out about it I started picking at areas on my body that I figured no body would ever see. Its even worse then it was when I picked at my face and back. Just try to understand her and find out why she does it, the next step is professional help
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March 08, 2010

young girls are approaching puberty earlier and earlier these days. hormones might be involved as might anxiety and the desire for comforting as previously mentioned. could an allergy be causing her discomfort? i agree that medical advice should be sought. begin with your family doctor who might recommend a therapist and or allergy testing. what does she feel about it herself? is she wanting to stop? is she seeking solutions herself? calamine lotion might help with itching. soothing baths with epsom salt, baking soda and milk powder might calm both her and her skin. if combined with soft music the pampering might help too. this is such a sensitive time in a girl's life and medical attention and lots of love should be sure to nip it in the bud. much hope to you and your little girl. ((hugs))
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March 14, 2010

Wildflower, Thanks, I will look into the allergy thing, and the bath stuff. She doesn't seem to be seeking solutions herself but she acknowledges that she does it, doesn't know why and doesn't want to keep doing it. Have you had experience with this type of stuff, yourself or a loved one?
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March 14, 2010

Elle, as a child i picked as well. i forget to what extent, but know i picked. it likely was and is a stress relieving response. not the best one, obviously, but a self conscious means to relieve some anxiety (hence the soothing mention). life was always anxious for me but considerably worsened and around age 30 the picking got completely out of hand. i didn't make the connection and dermatologists called it adult onset acne and i was prescribed just about everything for it to no avail. the anxieties remained and my self defeating coping mechanism remained. i remained uncomforted. skin is always developing some bump or another, being injured or bitten by something or another, and itching for some reason or another. picking and scratching is a natural response but somehow must not be allowed to go above and beyond necessary. i think it will be hard to get through to a child about that. i think it will take lots of love and attention to address what might be causing her anxiety and then reprogram her chosen habit . that is the difficult part considering a child's less maturity. an adult is more apt to be able to use logic and facts to assist with the process having a broader understanding of life in general. perhaps speaking to her pediatrician might help with strategies or a referral to another professional that might offer assistance. hypnosis might be something to consider. but as has been suggested in another post, read through all the posts here and the information in the menus here and sites elsewhere to seek whatever tidbits make sense to you and your situation and give you a better understanding of the depth and breadth of this affliction. there's no easy fix. it's complex in its manifestations and causes so the cure would have to address the many aspects of it. love seems to me to be the crux of much of the solution. a person needs love to weather the stresses and anxieties of life. a person needs to love and respect them self in order to want to do the best for them self and learn how to do what is best. i wish you all the best with helping your daughter address her issues and possibly finding some substitute behaviour that she can use for whatever is causing her to choose to do her skin harm. ((hugs)) to you both.
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March 17, 2010

When I was 10 or 11 i picked my nose but it wasn't that bad... now, with 16, i'm trying everything to stop picking my arms.... I hope we all find a solution for this! :)
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March 17, 2010

lara, the fact that you are reading on this site is absolutely great. you are looking for help. read "commit to healthy practices" and try to follow those guidelines. if you're not doing those things then you are not doing everything you can. there are many other tips in many other posts here too. seek them out. don't wait until you are 55 like me to conquer this affliction once and for all. replace your bad habits with good ones and things will only get better. best wishes to you !!
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March 10, 2010

Honestly, do everything you can to stop her now. I was about her age or even younger when i started. I am 19 now and my body is covered in scars. For me it started with picking at scabs from bug bites and on my scalp. its not really because of itching either, its picking at the inperfections on the skin. I remember my aunt noticing me scratching my head alot but no one ever tried to stop me. i wish they had. At that age, i didnt realize what i was doing or why i was doing it. but by the time ireached middle school i had to hide my scars. i know it is a hard subject to approach with a child, but you should try your best to explain to her that picking at her skin is bad for her and will leave scars on her body. she might not be able to quite understand how major it is and might want to do it anyway because she knows she shouldnt (i felt that way, its a kind of twisted rebellion..) neosporin on the spots will help them heal. but if she wont stop and they wont heal you must seek medical help so she doesnt end up like me. my heart is with you and your daughter, best of luck to you. <3
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March 14, 2010

Jacqie, Have you stopped now? If so what made you stop?
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March 19, 2010

elle, i would love to say that i have stopped, but i havent. i am 19 years old and embarrassed of the way my skin looks. this is why i know i NEED to stop, but i cant. that is why you need to get your daughter professional help. i started seeing a therapist, it has helped a little. this is a chronic compulsive disease, and the longer your daughter does it the more damage it will cause and the harder it will be for her to stop. i sincerely wish you the best of luck
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March 14, 2010

Has anyone who responded to this been able to stop it or get help for it. ? When my daughter was about 7-11 she would not let her scabs heal. At first I noticed she would scratch at mosquito bites or bug bites continuously breaking them open. I would neosporin and put bandaids on them and tell her when she would go to scratch (because she didn't seem to realize she was doing it) that the bandaid would be a reminder not to scratch. As soon as the bandaid came off if another wasn't put back on she would scratch it open. I tried everything to get her to stop from bribery to lecturing her on how she was ruining her skin. She does have permanent scars on her arms and legs from this. Eventually her arms and legs healed, I don't know why she stopped. Now she is 13 and has started picking her face. I think it started with a pimple or too and she started the same habbit of scratching it open along her hairline and forehead. I didn't realize the severity of it until she spent the weekend in the sun which really brought the scarring on her forehead out. I brought her to the dermatologists for the acne but he says that the acne is not the problem, it is the picking. PLEASE PLEASE if anyone has been able to successfully stop this behavior share with us how. I don't think she realizes when she is doing it. I will notice her sitting and reading a book, one hand holding the book the other scratching her forehead.
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March 14, 2010

Seriously.....the best thing to do is just go out and buy the best most expensive Skin sore treatment cream for your daughter and make her wear it all over every 1 of her sores 24/7.....use band-aids and bandages if u have to. My darn mother blames me for my picking and is too cheap and spiteful to buy any sore cream to help me....even I plead with her.... Because I have used the Sore cream before and it worked miracles on my sores and they dissapeared quickly before i could pick at them.....but my mother doesn't understand (sigh)
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June 06, 2010

Oh woah. I honest to gosh can't beleive there are other's that feel the way I do. I'm fifteen and I've been picking since I was seven, and it's hard when you're tan and the scars you've gotten from picking dont tan with the rest of your body. I don't know why other's do it, but as for myself, I started because -amoung other reasons- it felt good, and releived stress. One of my best friends has this problem too, mostly on her arms -as does myself- and we've both been told we're pretty girls. But sometimes you can't beleive what other's say. It'll usually start out as just a patch of dry skin or a bug bite, and you'll think it looks ugly, and that maybe, if you mess with it, you can get the swelling to go down, or scratch away that dry spot. And then it looks nice for a few seconds, and then the swelling comes back, and you keep picking, and prodding or however you as an individual do it. I've grown up with exzema, and so that provided the origional offending irratants. And I suppose that it was caused, or atleast why I first started, with the divorce of my parents, and the moving into a new house. As for the seeming that her arms and legs are burned, that's the excuse I use with other people, because I'm too ashamed to actually tell them that picking at my skin is a horrible unconsious habit. My mother used to put socks on my hands when I went to bed, so try that and it may help. Also, if there is any sort of stress that may be affecting her picking, try to figure out what it is and eleviate it. I know that my picking is worse during school than it is on the weekends, and around final time as well.
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August 02, 2010

Im 16 years old and have been suffering with this condition as long as i can remember. I have scars all over my face, legs, arms and back. I remember when i was younger (before i was diagnosed) they would get mad at me and yell at me about why am i doing this to myself and i should stop. They bought me every cream, band aid and anything else they could find. I think the best thing you could do for you daughter is remind her that she is beautiful everyday and try to just be supportive and not angry or frustrated.
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October 17, 2010

I'm 15 now, i started picking when i was 6. when i was seven it got so bad that i contracted a staff infection in my left ankle and they almost had to amputate it. Anxiety disorders run in my family, my mother has PIPS (psychologically induced pain syndrome) whenever she gets stressed out she gets really sick and starts to vomit everywhere. some time before i started picking my mom had taken me for a walk, she started to tell me how her and my father were unhappy together and me being a clueless five year old thought that her telling me meant it was my fault. i only remember this because since that day until recently I"ve struggled to make sure i kept them both happy and picking was my secret way of dealing with all the stress that came with it. now i realize that it was never my fault, but the picking is a habit. There could be something thats really bothering your daughter.
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October 25, 2010

Stress relief? Maybe talk to her and see if something's bothering her. She could be being bullied, abused, or have some other problem you don't know about.
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October 27, 2010

Hey! I think I can help you out, or at least give you an idea of what might be causing this (also this is a generic response that I've been circulating around, so not everything will be applicable to your child's situation). I used to have the same problems with lip/ear/face picking, and I'm pretty convinced at this point that it's a result of 1) too much adrenaline and/or 2) not enough dopamine. Anyone with anxiety problems and/or ADHD is likely to have this kind of chemical imbalance, so check this out: So far I've had the best luck reducing skin picking by avoiding adrenaline-inducing habits and finding things that will increase my dopamine levels (in a healthy way). I mean, the reason why the picking is so addictive is that we get little bursts of dopamine from these kinds of grooming activities, which actually goes back to an evolutionary adaptation for keeping ourselves clean and free of parasites. To put it in a few words, picking is just another way of self-medicating for lack of dopamine. So - things to AVOID are excess caffeine, sugar, blood sugar ups/downs (especially letting yourself get hungry), stimulants, sleep-deprivation and stress (duh). Some of these are adrenaline uppers, too much of which will induce anxiety and will make you want to pick as a way of calming yourself down. GOOD things are exercise - don't think calorie-burning as much, those activities can up your adrenaline even more - yoga and tai chi are awesome. Going on a 10 minute walk while listening to some relaxing music does wonders, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting down and working. Also, eating lean meats can help (don't over do it!) because you need amino acids to build neurotransmitters, especially seratonin. I've found it also helps if you can break the cycle for a little while, especially if you have a formal event coming up that you want to look good for. Good tricks for this are to put vaseline/neosporin on the picking target-zone, especially at night so it can heal up while you sleep. Also, as weird as it sounds, if you're a female lip-picker you should try loreal's infallible lip gloss. there's something about the texture of the gloss that covers the rough parts so you don't really want to pick at them. Hope this helps!