All my life I’ve bitten my nails. It’s caused me a lot of trouble, especially with my bipolar mother who has always thought screaming and shouting at me (and often a smack when I was younger) would make me stop.
At around 7 I also started biting and peeling the skin on my fingers which has caused a lot of social and health issues for me from being to ashamed to join in with prayers at school, to getting my fingers getting a fungal infection causing long lasting damage to my fingers.
Soon after I started to pull out the tiny hairs on my legs during school assembles and by 12 I began to pull my eyebrow hair out.
How can I stop doing this to myself? I don’t even realise I’m doing it half the time (I started biting the skin around my fingers just writing this and caused it to bleed a little). I’m afraid to bring this up with my parents because of how they have reacted in the past and I’m far too embarrassed to ask anyone I would typically trust. It has severally impacted how I interact with people and doesn’t exactly help with my already awful self-steam.
I’d appreciate any advice you can provide. Thank you in advance. (From the UK)Hair Pulling, Nail Biting, Skin Peeling and Biting
Hair Pulling, Nail Biting, Skin Peeling and Biting
Technically, this condition is called dermatophagia and is often classified as an obsessive-compulsive disorder. There is a lot of very good therapy for this, and I would highly recommend seeing a cognitive-behavioral counselor for this. Therapists trained in CBT have a particular way of approaching these conditions that tend to work. Ask around to find someone trained — or use our Find Help button at the top of the page to find someone that may be near you in your country. Ask your parents for help in securing an appointment.
Wishing you patience and peace,
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral