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Skin Peeling & Picking

I have been picking at my skin since I was around 8. I’m 20 now and the bottoms of my feet are hard and calloused and I reguarly peel skin off them until they bleed, making it hard to walk. I struggle with depression and anxiety and I was wondering it this behavior is tied to those? I want to stop. But I don’t know how. Does this count as self harm? I have cut and burned before but I haven’t dont that since I was 18.

Skin Peeling & Picking

A.

Your skin peeling and picking may be associated with your untreated depression and anxiety. It may be a maladaptive response to your distress.

Some people overeat. Some people use alcohol or drugs. Some people pull out their hair or gamble, etc. None are effective treatments for depression and anxiety. They are ineffective because they cause more problems for the sufferer. Peeling and picking your skin seems to be your method of coping. It may be soothing and relaxing. Though they may provide you with temporary relief, it does not cure the problem. Clearly, your method is not working.

Yes, your behavior could be characterized as self-harm because hard calluses and bleeding are the direct result of your actions. That is the very definition of self-harm.

This behavior is not beyond your control. Consider the fact that you probably do not engage in it at work or while you are in the presence of certain people or perhaps any other people. It most likely occurs when you’re alone, when you allow yourself the freedom to indulge in the behavior. You can make a different choice. With treatment, this can change.

The most effective and efficient solution for this problem is counseling and/or medication. One of the best types of treatments for depression and anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy. Contact your PCP for a referral for a cognitive behavioral therapist. Another way to find a therapist is by clicking on the “find help” tab, at the top of this page. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Skin Peeling & Picking

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Skin Peeling & Picking. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/07/26/skin-peeling-picking/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 24 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Jul 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.