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Addictive Behaviours Discuss and receive support for addictions not related to substance use, such as gambling, Internet, sex or work addictions, in this forum.

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TH Anonymous Offline
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Arrow picking at scalp - July 13th 2020, 05:10 PM

[SIZE="a"]So in the past few months I've developed a bit of a nervous picking habit, particularly picking at my scalp. It started a few months ago when quarantine started, and my senior year project team had to adapt to a bunch of new deadlines and obstacles. It started out by just constantly running my hands through my hair, then scratching my head, to where I am now which is picking at any bumps i find, which has led to bleeding and scabbing. My scalp isnt ichy, and I take good care of my hair, its just something i'll notice I've been doing for the past few minutes and didnt even realize. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on how to get myself to at least stop picking at my scalp until it bleeds, as my main concern at the moment is infection or hair loss.
If anyone has suggestions on different ways to keep my hands busy, I'd be happy to hear![/size]
   
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Re: picking at scalp - July 15th 2020, 09:32 AM

I have that same problem!

Whenever I get anxious, stressed, or start to feel agitated, I run my fingers through my hair. If I feel anything out of the ordinary I unconsciously start picking at it to the point I've ended up making my scalp dry. Sometimes I've scratched so much I've caused lumps to occur, which I'd then scratch and cause to bleed.

Using shampoos sort of help retain scalp moisture and ease any dryness, but it won't fix the picking.

I usually keep a pen nearby so I can play with it. One of those clicky ones, that way I can click it and flip it around rather than scratching. It doesn't work all the time, but making a conscious effort to be aware of what your hands are doing and where you're putting them is the bigger aim. The more you make yourself aware of what you're doing, the more you can help push yourself to control your urges to scratch.


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Re: picking at scalp - July 16th 2020, 03:00 AM

Hi there,

I have a similar issue whereby I pick my hair out of habit, even if I'm not feeling anxious or nervous, so I can understand how frustrating it can get when you're trying to break a habit. And I haven't had much luck breaking this habit, though as I write this I suddenly feel compelled to give it another shot.

I have read somewhere that it takes 21 days to break a habit, though that appears to be a controversial concept. Anyhow, generally the more we work on something, the more we get accustomed to our new way of living/new habits and practices. Kind of like how we're more used to living in quarantine now as compared to when it was first declared in March. So give yourself time and monitor where your hands go when you're doing something. Being aware of this might help control it, until you reach a point you're not doing it as much as before.

Like Rivière said, toying with a pen or something might help. Or every time you feel your hand going up to your head, you can try to consciously remind yourself that you need to keep your hands elsewhere (I know this is really, really hard!!), it will definitely take some patience.

This can be hard because our hands just go up to our head almost subconsciously, but don't give up! And good luck!!
   
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