Well, the DSM says that criteria A “recurrent picking at one’s own skin” is the the essential one, but the more criteria the clearer it is that it’s skin picking disorder. As far as I know, you don’t have to meet all of them to be diagnosed. Thanks for writing.
can’t focus at school. all i want to do is pick and scratch. then it gets to the point where i have to leave and sit in a bathroom stall going over every wound on my body. my scalp, my face, my neck, arms, legs, everywhere and anywhere i can. i can’t stop. i’m destroying myself. i…
The better thing to do, is to grab something like a pen, paperclip or whatever and play with it. Or doodle in your notebook. Next time you feel like you have to pick, do something else instead. Remember to externalize these urges so that they’re outside your body. Good luck!
Great question! I’ve been meaning to tackle this in a post. But I just happen to have the DSM handy so here it is:
Excoriation (Skin-Picking) Disorder
Diagnostic Criteria 698.4 (L98.1)
Recurrent skinpicking resulting in skin lesions.
Repeated attempts to decrease or stop skin picking.
The skin picking causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The skin picking is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g.,cocaine) or another medical condition (e.g., scabies).
The skin picking is not better explained by symptoms of another mental disorder(e.g.,delusions or tactile hallucinations in a psychotic disorder, attempts to improve a perceived defect or flaw in appearance in body dysmorphic disorder, stereotypies in stereotypic movement disorder, or intention to harm oneself in nonsuicidal self-injury)
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Get to your school counselor. Or a therapist if you can. Tell them the truth, and tell them everything, from the heart. It’s okay if you cry or are scared about telling a stranger everything, or if you think your urges are ridiculous.
I’d want to know more, like how often does this happen. How long has it been going on. And how intense are the urges. How does it affect your daily life, aside from being in school. Do you think about popping zits all the time, like at home or when you’re falling asleep. Maybe it’s OCD thoughts. Do you pick at yourself?
Lots of questions, but essentially you have to stop the thoughts by finding alternate ways of thinking. And also know that thoughts are just thoughts, not actions.
Okay good luck, and thanks for writing!