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Author Topic: Dermatillomania, bleaching and haircare  (Read 2620 times)  Share 

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Dermatillomania, bleaching and haircare
« on: 08 Mar 13 / 11:26 PM »
Gah this is a tough one, is anyone a Dermatillomania sufferer too? Basically mine started when I was young and now I am so so nervous about scalp marks that I refuse to go to a hairdresser (I haven't had a trim for years and I get such bad anxiety over the thought of a hairdresser visit!)

While this is a mental illness, and not something anyone on here is able to really give advice on (being a medical condition and all!) it might be nice to get a little support. Mine has calmed down over the years to the point where unless I'm under extreme pressure or stress I do not pick at all. Unfortunately i'm in my 3rd year of my degree and my dissertation writing triggered me into the scratch / pick cycle. I'd love to bleach my hair up from the colour it is (as soon as I'm past my 30 posts i'll make a timeline!) but I know unless I stop picking it wont happen :( which causes more stress and is a little bit of a vicious circle.

I know i'm probably not alone in this, as its not that uncommon but does anyone have any helpful tips to stop the cycle and just as a bit of support? Its horrible when you feel a little bit alone and a bit freakish :(
 

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Re: Dermatillomania, bleaching and haircare
« Reply #1 on: 08 Mar 13 / 11:43 PM »
Me! Although mine was never very severe and part of a general anxiety disorder. Are you getting any treatment/help? I had a lot of therapy (from an actual Psychiatrist, all the counselors treatments ie CBT, CAT etc didn't really help) but only saw a huge improvement when I was on the right medication combination. (Again needs to be prescribed by a Psychiatrist, GPs are next to useless with mental health drugs.)
Do you realise you are picking, is it a conscious decision for you? If so then you have to distract yourself, just like if you were trying to give up smoking or lose weight. I usually didn't realise /I was doing it until the damage was done.
Try and keep calm generally. Make sure you are eating properly and getting enough sleep. Also fresh air and exercise, I got so much better when I got a dog and was forced to get out walking every day. I also found lavender very useful, I had it in a burner, but even adding a few drops of essential oil to your clothes can be beneficial for relieving stress and anxiety.
Take plenty of scheduled breaks from your dissertation. Give yourself permission to not worry about it when you aren't working on it.
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Re: Dermatillomania, bleaching and haircare
« Reply #2 on: 09 Mar 13 / 08:24 AM »
Unfortunately with my degree and a part time job I don't really have time to go through any treatment for it. My main issue with going to a doctors about it is the last time they slung me on a general antidepressant. They are very quick to throw tablets at me which I feel doesn't help things as its treating a symptom and not solving the underlying problem.
I tend to realise when the damage is done as you say, I kind of zone out and the next thing I know I realise I'm scratching / picking and stop. I do find doing things that is mentally engaging helps like drawing and editing.
The essential oils is a brilliant idea, I will have to get some it (been meaning to for a while!) I do generally need to get out more though I must admit.
 

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Re: Dermatillomania, bleaching and haircare
« Reply #3 on: 09 Mar 13 / 08:44 AM »
Actually, you've made me realise that in a mild way, yes I think I do suffer from this. But not my scalp, my fingers and only when I'm really stressed. It was all the time when I was a child. Maybe it doesn't count though as it was also a possibly learned behaviour from my mum and gran, who both had severe OCD. I can pick and pick til the skin is raw and bleeding on all fingers (thumbs are the worst) and still carry on! Sometimes it's conscious, sometimes it's not.

Doesn't help you much, but I'd somehow never thought of it before!

Edit to add, though it has made me think, is it worth trying drugs for suppressing compulsions until you have time to have therapy or what ever? I'm literally throwing that out there having read its maybe connected to OCD. In times of severe stress my mum will go on prozac for a short spell which works really well to suppress the compulsions she has now (she's been in control of them for about 15 years now, but she starts to lose control with stress). I may be totally off the mark, but though I'd throw it out there.
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Re: Dermatillomania, bleaching and haircare
« Reply #4 on: 09 Mar 13 / 02:19 PM »
Wah :( I typed a big reply and lost internet.

For me its hard to justify going on addictive medication because I want to bleach my hair, however I do have issues that I need to solve and after my degree I hope to seek some actual advice :) which is what I recommend anyone to do. Right now I have a few little scalp spots that I had been picking / scratching but I am trying to keep occupied / notice when I start the process. Hopefully in about a month I'll be fine to bleach, luckily I have managed to get this under control on my own but I do just flare up under times of stress like dissertation hand in.

It does sound like Dermatillomania to me janineb, but I feel many people don't know about the condition - it is indeed linked to multiple things like anxiety, depression and OCD. It often affects extremities like the fingers as well as the scalp like me, the lips for some people and then less commonly, hands, arms etc.
 

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Re: Dermatillomania, bleaching and haircare
« Reply #5 on: 09 Mar 13 / 02:35 PM »
What about a dip dye or something? Or if it's small sections, just bleaching strips? Though, I'm using an app on my iPad to read and answer on the forum and I can't see your post without losing what I'm writing, so I can't remember what you're going for now!

The funny thing is, I had heard of it before, but it wasn't until I went to read up again it again to remind myself fully that the penny dropped its exactly what I do with my fingers! It was reading the connection to OCD and my mum and gran both doing it and having OCD (I'm lucky, I seem to have no other compulsive actions, though I'm plenty peculiar in other ways!). It's not something worth worrying about for me though, just making sure I keep my fingers clean so I don't get infections. I'm at my worst at the moment actually as I had tax issues at the beginning of the year, moving house and consistently I'll for the last few weeks. My fingers aren't looking too bad at the moment, but give it a couple of weeks and they'll look like I've dipped my fingers in a waste disposal! My boyfriend pointed out to me a few hours ago that I do it to my lips as well. He's absolutely right, but i can stop on my lips when it hurts, my fingers I can't stop until I'm less stressed. Very interesting!

I hope you get it sorted out!

Edited to add, heh, realised as I was typing this I was biting badly at slightly loose bits of skin on my lip and made it bleed and soon as I posted I was picking at my thumb, that's the worst, right away! Does it cover picking at scabs too? I can't help myself with scabs, especially on my scalp... Maybe I'm worse than I realise lol
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Re: Dermatillomania, bleaching and haircare
« Reply #6 on: 09 Mar 13 / 02:49 PM »
It does indeed cover picking as you tend to get into a cycle of scratch, heal, pick, repeat :(.

Unfortunately an Ombre isn't much of an option for me (again once I get past my first 30 posts i'll make a little timeline) but basically my hair is currently very very long I can almost sit on it. I also dyed it with a dreaded XXL in June 2011 and that, coupled with colour build up (all dark reds and the XXL was a blue/black) means my hair will not lighten in the ends (I've used a colour B4 on it, and again the XXL as usual will not budge an inch). I have however grown a load of that XXL out so my plan is to bleach (after a test it bleached fine in the grown out areas, gingery in the dark areas) and then cut my hair quite a lot! Again I'll post a timeline and a bit more information on my hair there rather than clutter this thread.
 

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Re: Dermatillomania, bleaching and haircare
« Reply #7 on: 09 Mar 13 / 04:18 PM »
I have this, but i pick at my lips. It started from stress in school due to every month having progress exams , so i've been doing it for about 15 years. I dont usually realize i'm doing it until my lips are bleeding. I went to see a psychiatrist for depression but he hasnt really helped me much with this. I recently took up knitting so i can keep my hands occupied when i'm watching tv and i now do it less often as well as less severely (ie, i dont bleed everytime as i'monly picking at the healing superficial skin) i find that certain lip balms help me heal quicker but othersnjust make my lips stretchier and easier to pick so i have to be careful which brands i get.
I get my boyfriend and family to tell me when they see me picking so that i can try to stop but sometimes e compulsion is so strong i have to keep doing it until at bit of skin is off.
It is so difficult to stop, i have been trying for years with no real results .
Any advise would be very welcome
 

 

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