Can you really stop picking?
I believe everyone has the capacity to stop or greatly reduce their skin picking to the point that it is not an issue anymore.
Our brains are so incredibly changeable, a quality scientists call neuroplasticity. Research has provided us with many examples of neuroplasticity. Even with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a disorder close in nature to skin picking, brain imaging has shown certain structural abnormalities that then normalize over time as the person learns to change their behavior.
At the time of writing this article, similar studies have not yet been done with skin picking, yet there is no reason to believe the brain and nervous system of skin pickers are not similarly changeable. And my clients’ success supports this idea.
Have no doubt that it can be done! So, what will it take?
What does it take to stop picking?
It will take a combination of several techniques and strategies to get the best results. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill that is going to stop your picking, and there’s no one solution that works for everyone. Although fluoxetine (Prozac) and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) have been shown in studies to help some, and there are anecdotal reports of other medications and supplements that help, they are never enough on their own to get us to stop picking.
That said, here are the things you will need:
You have tried will-power time and time again, and that hasn’t worked. You need to know certain techniques and how to apply them. To get started, please request my free Skin Picking Freedom Kit here, which includes my report and audio “Why You Pick Your Skin and How to Finally Stop” and video “Stop Skin Picking Urges in 2 Minutes Flat.” There you will find some of my best strategies to live free from the burdens of picking. You can also check out my blog for valuable articles and tips.
Also, look for my book, “Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop”. It can provide you with knowledge that is beyond the scope of this website.
Acceptance is huge, and includes acceptance of yourself, no matter what. However you do it, it helps tremendously to release the shame you feel. The more ashamed you feel about your picking, the tighter the grip it has on you and your life.
We tend to be so isolated about this. But you are far from alone. Millions of other people share this same challenge as you. One step you can take towards relieving the shame is telling someone supportive about your picking. Whether it’s a friend, a partner, a parent, or a support group for skin pickers, opening up the secret you’ve been keeping is an important step in your healing.
It is also important to accept the reality that you are picking your skin in order to be successful at reducing and ultimately stopping it. If the only thing that is acceptable to you is that you do not pick at all, effective immediately, then you will not have the power to stop.
It takes effort over an extended period of time to be able to reduce and stop skin picking. It’s a resistant problem that will take commitment and time and energy.
But it’s worth it!
You’ve been slipping down this slope probably for years. It will take energy to turn around and climb up out of the steep slope. And the climb up always involves some backsliding, so it takes plenty of time and effort, consistently applied.
The timing needs to be right too. If you have something much more pressing going on in your life, you may not enough time and energy to devote to the process, and it won’t work. In that case, there is no reason to feel badly about it. Just accept that right now you have more urgent matters to deal with, and you can always come back when the time is right.
It really helps to have an outside expert with the perspective to be able to see what you need and steer you in the right direction. You want someone who can see where you may be going wrong, troubleshoot, and help you avoid hidden land mines. And you also need someone who can see where you’re going right, when you may not even realize it, so they can encourage you.
Sometimes we need guidance just to help us keep on keeping on.
That person, a coach, let’s say, can support you unconditionally, yet also hold up goals and keep up motivational pressure. It is a great motivator for all of us to have someone to be accountable to. Often times, a friend can give you unconditional support, but they may not feel comfortable holding you accountable. You want someone who can do both.
For example, if I give you recommendations for things to do between coaching sessions, you are much more likely to do them than you would be during the same period of time on your own. It is human nature for us to need this kind of support.
Practice and Persistence
Stopping picking is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes hard work over a long period of time, and you will stumble many times as you are learning to stop. Real success will happen when you learn to be less upset by the times you slip-up and more encouraged by your successes, no matter how small they may be at first.
You’ll begin to see that your urge to pick decreases and you start to feel as if a huge burden has been lifted. It doesn’t happen overnight. But with persistence, it will happen for you.
You have to look in the direction in which you want to go. Nobody can drive a car only by looking in the rearview mirror. You can’t stop picking if you continually focus on and regret your past actions and the damage you did.
The more you work at it and take positive steps, the more success you will have and the milder, fewer and farther between your stumbles will be. That is the learning process.
If you have had a skin picking problem for many years, it will take you some time to fully be free of it. I typically work with people for four months or so, after which time they are picking only a small fraction of the amount they were picking when we began.
At this time they have all the tools they need, and they usually feel confident and comfortable maintaining their progress on their own, with much less effort than it took in the beginning when we were working together.
If you keep up the practices that work, you will keep improving and with time, skin picking will be a thing of the past.