Medicines that can help "picking"?

This may be TMI. I tried to ungrossify it. It’s just blood, really.

My mother has many, many psychological problems, as do the rest of her family (lucky me, I don’t have anything out of the ordinary :smiley: ). She takes loads of medicines daily for these, and has many others prescribed that she’s supposed to take daily but does not because it would make her sleep pretty much all day, which she already nearly does. I give her much credit - she functions okay to keep my dad and I and the pets well taken care of, usually. When she doesn’t I force her to her psychiatrist to fix her medications so she stops throwing things, or sitting comatose-like on the stairs despite stimuli, etc.

Regardless she has lots of OCD behaviors and worse that she can’t get rid of, or simply won’t take the medication for. I don’t know precisely. One that severely grosses out anybody who sees it (not to mention worries me due to the blood and how the dogs like to lick it and may get sick or infect mom) is her picking. I’m sure it’s related to the problem where one thinks one’s hair is Evil and you must Pick It Out until you are bald in patches. Mom does this with her skin. She claims there are lots of tiny little spheroids right under the skin so she picks at it with tweezers or her fingernails (she seems to have grown them out specifically for this purpose). There are several multi-square-inch patches on her legs and neck where she picks, and sometimes she seems to start to go after her face too. God, it’s gross. I hate it so much. She does it an easy 20% of the day. When she’s sitting in any chair and doesn’t have jeans on, she picks (if she has jeans, she scratches through the material). When she’s going to the bathroom she picks. Or lying in bed. Or standing up. Or in the car. She always has huge bleeding patches, bloody tweezers she never or rarely cleans, and doesn’t put bandaids on them either. She tends to sit in the bathroom doing nothing but picking for a good 3 to 4 hours every night.

So. I know she would never mention this to her psychiatrist, much less take the medicine he might prescribe for it. At any rate I’d like to know what medicine one would use to combat this (no, I don’t plan on slipping it into her coffee or something :stuck_out_tongue: ), anti-anxiety? anti-OCD? Something else? What is the condition called so I can google it properly? Can it be dangerous to do, to herself or me or dad or the licking dogs? Sure, she doesn’t respond the reason, the dogs do better than she it seems since they don’t believe in everything mentioning aliens or that Brown psychic, but I’d still like to have an arsenal. Maybe have a visit with her psychiatrist myself to talk about it. Anything. I am so damn tired of seeing these giant bloody patches all over her, and knowing anybody I’m with can generally see them, and how she lets the dogs lick it; I do NOT want my dogs sick or lusting after my blood or something. And what is that hair-pully thing I can’t remember? It had a long name that I could never pronounce and I’m so tired and grossed out that I can’t think let alone try massive googling with poor key words.

Try this Google search. “Self injury” is a common term for this. Sometime’s it’s hyphenated. It’s common in sufferers of bipolar disorder, manic depression, and obsessive-compluslive disorder.

Which I clearly don’t suffer from, or I would have written “obsessive-compulsive disorder”. Good morning.

I tend to pull out my hair, and I also pick out blackheads…not to the point of inducing bleeding, though! I am clinically depressed, and I take Paxil for it. Right now, I’m on a reduced Paxil dosage because it interferes with an antibiotic, and I’ve noticed that I want to pull out hair, pick out blackheads, and generally obsess over things. However, I am not a medical professional, YMMV, etc, etc.

I have found that it helps me if I have some sort of fussy handwork to play with. Instead of plucking, I’ll sit down with my cross stitch or knitting. This satisfies the urge to keep my hands busy AND I have something at the end.

I also find that keeping my hair well conditioned and well groomed helps me keep from pulling it as much. In your mom’s case, she might respond well to having some lotion or cream smoothed on the spots she’s picking. She might be feeling some itchiness there (I know that feeling itchy is part of my hairpulling) and maybe having the area soothed would help her refrain from the picking.

Yes, mention it to her psychiatrist.

She smokes a bunch, often while she’s picking, so I don’t know if it’s a hand-thing per se. She just always says it’s ‘dirty’ in those spots. With the probably-pretend-or-at-least-supposed-to-be-there spheroids. She puts lots of lotion on it. Puts a glob on. Rubs it in. Rubs for a few minutes. Starts picking again for an hour. Puts another glob on. She is seriously OCD, yes. I’m just glad she’s not schizophrenic or murderous or suicidal like the rest of her siblings.

I’ll see about having an appointment with her psychiatrist guy (she sees him like, for 5 minutes every 3 months, so I KNOW she’s not getting actual treatment).

And now I swear I’m going to sleep for a few hours.

A little off-topic, and fairly nosy:

If you’re under 18 or if you have younger siblings, and your dad isn’t able to do anything to help with your mom’s condition, have you considered going to your school counselor or directly to your state’s social services department to see if your family can get some additional help? It certainly sounds like your mom’s condition is not adequately controlled, and a reasonable person might conclude that she is harming herself. It might be possible to get a psychiatric social worker in on the case to help coordinate her treatment, since the psychiatrist is pretty obviously not enough.

If you’re an adult, I apologize for being presumptuous, but if you’re not (or even if you’re a very young adult), this is not something you should have to deal with by yourself.

A little too late, I’m 19 with no siblings. But I do thank you for caring about my welfare. At any rate, like I said, she’s very functional. No psychotic episodes, just occasional depressive ones that only last a day. I’m only concerned about her picking, and then only because it could make the dogs sick (or her, getting ashes and nicotine directly into the bloodstream like that) and because it’s gross. It doesn’t seem to be a lack of medication or some anxiety disorder thing, just something she feels she has to do, like trichotillomania (I found the word I was looking for before :stuck_out_tongue: ), hence wondering if it was related, what stops it, what dangers there are in it, etc.

Trust me, when she goes off the deep end due to not taking medication due to it making her incredibly ill (one gave her the trots for over a month while taking it and it took the doctor forever to get her new pills), I can and do deal with it.

When I was a teenager I had problems with chewing the inside of my mouth and picking at my skin and the therapist I was seeing prescribed Epival. It’s an anticonvulsant. To be honest, it didn’t help at all and after I stopped taking antidepressants I was much more motivated to work at stopping on my own. I spent about two years where I fought it a lot and I mostly relied on the snapping the rubber band trick.

There is another medication I’ve heard of being prescribed for skin picking but I can’t seem to remember what it was. Sorry. But I should say that my doctor was prescription happy and the Epival did not help me.

I just felt like mentioning though that it might be something your mom has done since she was a kid and a lot of people do it. If her doctor doesn’t understand how serious it is, make him understand. And the spheroids are real, btw. Everyone or most people have waxy sebum in their follicles if they dig hard enough, or a hair root that’s pickable. Normal people don’t know they’re there or don’t care but for a compulsive picker it is maddening to know that they’re there and it makes you feel dirty. I don’t think anyone knows exactly why the wire is crossed. You are right that it is closely related to hair-pulling and there are lots of theories about why it happens but nobody knows.