Do I need therapy?

I just read on wikipedia about some habit I have since my childhood. It is called skin picking disorder. It is classified as an impulse control disorder. By the act of picking your skin on your fingers or anywhere else on your body, one feels calmed down, and is in a trance-like situation in which negative consequences are being ignored. During this act one tries to let out stress, boredom, anger, and sadness. After stopping that act, one might feel remorse and shame.

When one doesn’t stop doing this, the development of skin cannot be succesfull which will then lead the wounds to get infected and turn into scars.

One can do a behaviour therapy, or a a HRT (habit reversal therapy) which can be done by the person himself on his own. The first step of this therapy consists of writing about that habit. In the following steps they find some opposite behaviour steps to confront the habit with like making your hands into fists when you bite your finger nails. I am thinking about starting with this by writing it down or something like that.

In my case, I mostly pick the skin on my fingers (on the inside of my thumbs and index finger. When I don’t open my palm, the skin around my nails looks normal. The other fingers are untouched), my lips, and the blisters on my feet and heels. I do it since I was a kid, and I only remember my cousin showing it to me. She doesn’t do it anymore, but she has begun biting her finger nails, and now she sometimes bites her lips. I still do it with my fingers, and added my feet and lips as well. I also often bleed, and then I feel remorseful. It looks ugly, is a waste of time (although I usually do it while I do other things like watching a movie), and can hurt in the end. It can also lead to complications in society. When I had to give a finger print for my passport, I had to push my thumb on a screen. Since I pick my fingers on the inside, I can imagine how odd my finger print looked like. The surprised face of the lady was proof :’D

I don’t remember my psychological state when I was a child, but it is true that I do it more often in stressful situations. I also noticed doing it when I was so angry that I even cried, so in a situation in which both feelings are mixed. I also thought that I do it especially when I don’t feel content with myself.

I’m not sure if I should really consider doing a therapy, since I also think that it is expensive. But maybe writing it down would be a good start.



4 thoughts on “Do I need therapy?

  1. You’re not alone and I know how you feel. I’m battling some thing similar with acne. I’m getting better (I haven’t had a break out for a while, but am still on the last breakout. The spots have to go completely which causes long term openings that take months to heal as I can’t stop it removing the spot as it comes back. Disgusting I know and messed up in the head!) I haven’t asked for help as I’m too embarrassed and ashamed to. I’m gradually, slowly stopping, but it’s hard (3 years). It’s on my face so I can cover it up to a point, but you can see the scars and new ones. Wow, writing this has been hard. It’s in the open now. Ask someone to stop you when they see you do it. You won’t like it, but it might help as a start and identifying triggers. I was unhappy when it first happened and now it’s habit and I need to un-habit it. I’m also worried about the long term consequences, infections etc. I’ll start writing when I feel the ‘need’. Perhaps like for you it’ll help. What a pair we are!


    1. I have read about the cases with acne, too. Have you considered taking the pill? It might help against acne. Yes my parents and sister already stop me. Also a few of my relatives and friends know about it now. It is actually nothing new for them anymore :’D but I sometimes try to do it secretly. Quite strange because I also don’t want to do it anymore but there is a need to do it and everytime I think: “Only this last pick”.


      1. The past few months I’ve eaten mostly unprocessed, fresh and whole foods which has helped my skin no end. I too don’t want to do it anymore. feel the need and then ‘last time’. I’m getting better, slowly and it’s taking not end of will power. :(


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