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Dermatillomania / Excoriation Disorder

(7 Posts)
Scribblegirl Wed 22-Feb-17 18:25:29

Any other sufferers out there?

Sometimes mine is under control and sometimes it's insane. My anxiety is on a flare at the moment and my hands, lips and mouth look appalling from picking and biting at them. I also have a section on my nose I can't stop with, pretty sure my colleagues think I'm a compulsive bogey picker...

I really struggle to think of it as a mental health thing. I've had various informal diagnoses between anxiety and OCD in the past (although the best fit for my symptoms I've personally found is borderline) but nothing's stuck and I've usually managed to flit between services without getting sorted. I have moments of proper despair but by the time an appointment for anything comes around I'm coping a bit better and cancel, or feel like a fraud for sitting through the appointment, probably getting labelled a time waster blush Despite (or perhaps because of) a couple of suicide attempts in my teens and self harm issues (although I've not cut in a few years and now just scratch myself) I can't see compulsive picking as a 'problem' in the same way. Family and friends just think of it as an irritating habit. When DP and I first met he used to bat my hands away when I started to pick until I told him how patronising I find it. Now he just reminds me to stop - as he knows sometimes it's something I'm doing subconsciously - but that's easier said than done.

It's weird, I'm actually feeling on a decent keel at this very second but but I can't stop ripping at my skin. Sigh.

CrazyDuchess Wed 22-Feb-17 18:28:19

Wow - I feel like I write this post.... aside from I attack my legs sad

I'd love to know how to stop - but I don't even realise I am doing it most times. I agree I think I am probably a borderline personality - I think it gets worse when my anxiety is high but I am really trying think of actively stop..... so so hard though!

Lozzabeans Sat 25-Feb-17 07:50:10

Yes I am although not as bad since I had CBT via the IAPT service 18 months ago. My main area is my arms and triggers are anxiety, eating too much sugar or boredom.
Also interestingly after your comments, I think I have Borderline Personality too.
I run a lot and find the more I run in the week the more this seems to alleviate the compulsion. I'm currently running 10-15 miles a week for half marathon training and the picking has been almost non existent recently.
I've also come to accept it as being part of who I am and the CBT helped me understand I had an alternative option ie. Not pick. Sounds simple but I needed to process this to overcome the strong urges.
The CBT course was actually for Trichotillomania but my therapist adapted it! Just shows it's still not a well known or accepted condition and therefore understandable people sometimes just see it as a 'bad habit'. Hopefully this will change.

highinthesky Sat 25-Feb-17 07:54:01

On a practical note, you could try wearing a pair of socks over your hands at night to stop unconscious nocturnal picking?

I'm a huge unconscious picker (pores), esp the face. Wearing make-up stops this for me but I appreciate may not be practical for you.

CrazyDuchess Sun 26-Feb-17 11:47:13

I am interested in the running easing your compulsion Lozza... do you know why that is?

Lozzabeans Sun 26-Feb-17 20:29:34

Absolutely no idea! I've been doing both for years and years though and always notice much less compulsion to pick the more running I've been doing.

LabradorPuppy Tue 28-Feb-17 06:31:11

Omg. I have never known anyone else who does this. I have skin picked my fingers since I was about 4. My family saw it as a bad habit and my mum even took me to the GP who gave me a cream to put on my hands which tasted disgusting (I would sometimes bite the skin) but it didn't help. I didn't realise it but I was a very anxious child and also developed social anxiety.

30 years later I still skin pick but it has gone down to just my thumb and its always worse when I have worry / stress on my mind. There have been times where I haven't skin picked and the skin has healed and I have "normal" hands but those are few and far between. I still have social anxiety which I just can't seem to improve. Life is shit at times.

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