How do I stop myself from picking!!

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Posted 7/1/2013 by brokenbrain in NSBR Board
 

brokenbrain
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Posted: 7/1/2013 1:18:11 PM
I need any suggestions as a way to stop myself from picking at my incision/scar from two neck surgeries I had last July?

I know. A long time but I'm a horrible picker. I picked at my craniotomy incision for well over a year, even managing to pull internal sutures out.

I had two neck surgeries last July to have a neurostimulator implanted and places are still raw where I pick/itch and I. CAN'T. STOP. My neurosurgeon said I'm worse than a child but it's become a habit I can't break and am embarrassed by the way it looks (plus it hurts!)

Any suggestions short of tying my hands down?!


Santa, for Christmas this year all I ask for is a big fat bank account and a skinny body. Please don't mix the up the two like you did last year.

- Jody
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beachgurl
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Posted: 7/1/2013 1:20:51 PM
wear gloves




sammi71
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Posted: 7/1/2013 1:26:38 PM
As your surgeon for one of those cones like dogs wear!!

It's not so farfetched, I saw them put one on a kid when I was in teh ER in VA once, so I know they have 'em!!!

stittsygirl
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Posted: 7/1/2013 1:29:59 PM
I'm a picker, from childhood. Sometimes I'll cover the area with band aids, and pick at the edges of those. Occasionally I'll put some Super Glue near the area, let it dry, and gently pick that off, just to suppress the compulsion.

I also saw a suggestion on the Internet for those with dermatillomania (the official name of chronic, OCD-type picking). She would buy a bulk bag of bottle caps that have the plastic liners inside. She would keep some handy, and when she felt the compulsion to pick, she'd work on picking the plastic liners out of the caps. I know it sounds weird, but it worked for her.

Good luck!






Kristen, lucky mom and proud retired Army wife!




Katlaw
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Posted: 7/1/2013 1:32:04 PM
Can you paint liquid band aid over the incision scars? It would seal it in and you would not be able to pick it off as easily.


Kathy





brokenbrain
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Posted: 7/1/2013 1:39:30 PM
I did not know there was an official name for my chronic picking. I know I shouldn't do it but even when it hurts, I can't stop.

I've tried gloves and keeping my nails short and just use tweezers or some other implement to satisfy my urge.

I do try to keep it covered with ointment on it but then just itch/pick at the bandage.

I have to try the bottle caps to satisfy my picking urge. And believe me, I'd find a way around a cone of shame!

My doc did prescribe a medical covering however, I don't have prescription coverage and couldn't afford it.


Santa, for Christmas this year all I ask for is a big fat bank account and a skinny body. Please don't mix the up the two like you did last year.

- Jody
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HoneyBee13
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Posted: 7/1/2013 1:44:35 PM
My mom picks at everything! If my sis, bro or I have a zit we have to hide it from her cuz she will not leave you alone to you let her at it.LOL.
She now has scars on her arms and legs from picking.
Sit on your hands or go pick weeds or something to keep your hands busy.

stittsygirl
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Posted: 7/1/2013 1:49:11 PM

I did not know there was an official name for my chronic picking. I know I shouldn't do it but even when it hurts, I can't stop.


I know, I didn't either. I found that out a few years ago. It's actually a lot more common than you probably realize, some people are just able to hide it better. Dermatillomania is not classified as a specific OCD yet, but many still put it in the same category as hair pulling and cutting, which are very often the results of anxiety. I pick more when I'm stressed and anxious. It becomes dangerous if the picking sites become infected, and of course can leave bad scars. I've never gotten professional help for my picking, and currently have it under control, but for me it goes in cycles.

I haven't tried the bottle cap trick yet, but the girl said she got hers off of eBay or Etsy, I can't remember. They have to have the plastic lining though.

Here is the Wiki link for dermatillomania, and there are other good sites out there too for information and help. It looks like it is classified now under OCD conditions.





jrenae
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Posted: 7/1/2013 1:50:51 PM
I've been battling it since childhood. Band-aids help sometimes. Stress and anxiety make it so much worse. Thanks for the info, stittsygirl.


...Jill


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stittsygirl
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Posted: 7/1/2013 1:56:55 PM

I've been battling it since childhood. Band-aids help sometimes. Stress and anxiety make it so much worse. Thanks for the info, stittsygirl.


No problem. It was such a relief for me when I found out it actually had a name, and I wasn't the only one plagued by it .


brokenbrain
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Posted: 7/1/2013 2:10:33 PM
Thanks for the link, off to check it out.

I probably should mention it to my GP and get put back on anxiety meds. Anything to help calm the habit.

Even after pulling sutures from the lining of my brain (ouch) with tweezers and finding out I was at risk for bone and brain infections, I could not stop. I'd even wake up with dried blood all over my face/pillowcase from picking in my sleep. Even now that that incision has finally healed, I still find myself picking at that scar as well. The newer incisions/scars are just much more satisfying. Ugh!

I think I need a new hobby.


Santa, for Christmas this year all I ask for is a big fat bank account and a skinny body. Please don't mix the up the two like you did last year.

- Jody
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jrenae
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Posted: 7/1/2013 2:12:00 PM
Wow...I read the Wiki link and wow.

I've found that lately it's been especially problematic with my stress and anxiety with dealing with my almost 13yo daughter. She's really been an argumentative snot lately, and it's put my anxiety into overdrive.


...Jill


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gale w
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Posted: 7/1/2013 2:36:49 PM
I'm a picker-my targets are my thumb and middle finger. I have tried using band aids but I hate anything being on my hands (I don't wear any jewelry either) and when the band aids come off, the skin is even easier to pick at. I've given up trying to quit and just try to manage it (stop when it gets too painful, bleeding, etc). I pick a lot worse when I'm stressed or bored. If you can keep your hands busy with something else, maybe that would help. Something to hold, manipulate, etc. If you're at home, cover up the target area. Put glue on your hands and let it dry and pick that instead. Paint your nails and pick that instead (I don't use nail polish on my fingernails or I'd have it all picked off before it even has time to dry).


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brokenbrain
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Posted: 7/1/2013 2:42:55 PM
I keep my fingers and toes maintained so I don't pick at those. I'm bad about my toes. If they aren't polished (professionally, not by me), I pick my toes until they bleed. Thankfully that is rarely an issue any longer.

It mainly seems concentrated on my latest scar line and if I get a zit, Lizard help us all!! And who the hell thought zits, wrinkles, gray hair and hormones was a good combo anyway! WTH?!


Santa, for Christmas this year all I ask for is a big fat bank account and a skinny body. Please don't mix the up the two like you did last year.

- Jody
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obsidian
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Posted: 7/1/2013 5:36:41 PM
For cronic picking a short course of medication can also work.

If the behaviour has been going on for over a year the doctor should really be looking at treatment options for the behaviour itself.
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lisaluvshearts
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Posted: 7/1/2013 5:42:36 PM
I pick my acne really bad. My therapist tells me it is a form of self-harm because I get relief when I actually bring blood from a zit.


I dunno, I just can't stand to see a pimple.



obsidian
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Posted: 7/1/2013 5:47:09 PM

My therapist tells me it is a form of self-harm because I get relief when I actually bring blood from a zit.


Seeing blood from a wound releases endorphins. So if you are doing the behaviour for the relief the enorphin hit brings then it is self harm. A properly excized zit should not bleed.

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Posted: 7/1/2013 7:00:20 PM

I probably should mention it to my GP and get put back on anxiety meds. Anything to help calm the habit.
I can't help but think this is a anxiety related disorder. I would seriously, seriously consider an anti-depressant. Even if it's just a trial.


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Posted: 7/1/2013 7:04:06 PM
Wow...I've recently begun treatment for OCD but had no idea that picking at yourself could be included. I've never even mentioned it to my doctors.


~Christine~

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brokenbrain
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Posted: 7/1/2013 7:13:58 PM
Whovian, I believe that is what my neurosurgeon prescribed that I couldn't afford to p/u. I'm in the process of trying to obtain prescription coverage so that will be a huge help.

Pretty in PEAnk, I've been on an anti-depressant and anxiety meds in the past. I don't recall if those meds eased my chronic need to pick.

I'm working with three of my docs on the slight possibility that I'm having a reaction to the actual medical device. That might ease my chronic itch but leads me to yet another new incision in the same area in which to pick!


Santa, for Christmas this year all I ask for is a big fat bank account and a skinny body. Please don't mix the up the two like you did last year.

- Jody
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redshoes73
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Posted: 7/1/2013 7:56:11 PM
This may seem weird but it worked very well for someone I know. A therapist in our area hypnotized this person and recorded the session full of affirmations (ie made a CD to take home). The person listened to the CD every night for weeks as they went to sleep and they no longer picked. In their. case, they picked out eyelashes and eyebrows, but similar habit as you describe.

myboysnme
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Posted: 7/1/2013 7:59:12 PM
My mother and sister have that issue. I suggested they put Elmer's glue on their hands and pull it off after it dries. It is similar to peeling off sunburned skin. Just be sure to put Vaseline on your incisions to make them too slick to pick at.


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stittsygirl
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Posted: 7/1/2013 8:47:45 PM

Wow...I've recently begun treatment for OCD but had no idea that picking at yourself could be included. I've never even mentioned it to my doctors.



It was just included in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in May, under OCD conditions, so your doctor may or may not know it's classified as such now. I just found that out today.


Whovian
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Posted: 7/1/2013 9:51:41 PM
Jody - here are some links for where you can get that tape affordably.

It is called Tegaderm and is available in patches and rolls. I don't know the size you might need.

Walgreens
Amazon
Amazon 2


And I also say ditto to the white school glue trick. I used to smear it onto the inside of my forearms, let it dry, and then play with it as long as I could until I found myself peeling it off.

I was finally able to focus my picking to my fingernail cuticles, but instead of picking, I push them back. My nail tech said I have the most amazing cuticles and she never even asks to cut them (not that I would allow that).

Whovian
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Posted: 7/1/2013 9:54:16 PM
Another thought - how about a bracelet?

Basically a friendship bracelet, but your job is to pick at it until you untie/unknot it.

Either get a friendship bracelet, or buy a $.40 skein of cross-stitch thread and tie lots of knots in it, adding several pieces of thread, etc. Tie them as difficult as possible - get your family to make them also.
Wear it on your wrist and pick at it when you have the urge.

Free~Bird
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Posted: 7/2/2013 12:15:28 AM
I'm a picker. What cured me was acrylic nails. You just can get a good scratch going. LOL.


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brokenbrain
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Posted: 7/2/2013 1:39:26 AM
Whovian, thank you for the links. Off to check them out! Something has to help before I add scars on top of scars!

Free~Bird, even with acrylics I can pick (I don't have them currently). I am nothing if not determined, persistent and creative

I'll also have to try the bracelet idea as well. I'm a horrible insomniac and find myself picking incessantly when I can't sleep as well.

Thank you ladies for all your ideas.


Santa, for Christmas this year all I ask for is a big fat bank account and a skinny body. Please don't mix the up the two like you did last year.

- Jody
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brokenbrain
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Posted: 7/2/2013 3:09:06 AM
I read the link describing chronic picking. Hey, it could always be worse, I could be addicted to picking my nose!


Santa, for Christmas this year all I ask for is a big fat bank account and a skinny body. Please don't mix the up the two like you did last year.

- Jody
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MellyW
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Posted: 7/2/2013 3:57:09 AM

Wow, had no idea this had a name. I do it as a reaction to pain, it's been really bad the last year.

Look at my thumbs, you'll know how much pain I'm in. I'll pick the skin off way down my thumbs to distract from the pain.

Maybe it's time to talk to a Doctor. Just hate the thought of adding yet another medication into the mix.

PennyPaws
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Posted: 7/2/2013 4:22:27 AM
Ella, my condolences about your sister...



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PierKiss
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Posted: 7/2/2013 8:21:01 AM
Put a rubber band on your wrist. Every time you catch yourself picking snap that rubber band HARD.
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