Our son has been picking for a few months now. His hands. His lips. His feet. Basically, any skin he can get to. I can understand the obsession, honestly. I’ve done it myself. I do it when I’m nervous. It starts with a little piece of skin sticking out of your fingernail. You pick at it to make it even, but then it’s not even at all. You keep picking, eventually, you’re bleeding, and so on… The difference between my picking and his is that mine stops at the one finger. I stop when it hurts. He’ll complain (maybe), but he’ll keep going. We’ll put band-aids on his fingers, but he’ll pull them off and keep going.
His teacher tried putting glue on his hands. You know, so he’d pick at the glue instead of his hands or his face. He loved it and it worked. He wasn’t picking at his skin anymore.
Yes, he loved the glue. Problem was, he loved it so much, that’s all he wanted to do. Now he didn’t want to work. So then they had to use it as a reward instead. I’m not sure where they’re at with that. All I know is, he’s still picking pretty heavily at home and even hides beneath coats and blankets to do it.
The other issue is that this behavior is worse with the ADHD medication. It’s obsessive behavior and, just as we’ve noticed in the past, his obsessive behavior is worse on ADHD medication. In the past, it was just annoying stuff, like his obsessive need to pick every.single.dandelion when we went for walks. And I mean EVERY one. Now, his obsessive behavior is the picking. And that’s much worse, because it hurts him and leaves the potential for infection. But if we don’t give him his medication, he’s a mess. He’s a cyclone of energy. He has terrible days at school, worse days at home, and nobody wins. There’s no middle ground there.
I wish I knew what the answer was, but I don’t. His therapist suggested trying antidepressants. I guess that’s our next move. I just didn’t want to start him on psychiatric drugs at such a young age. But, it’s certainly worth a try, I guess. It’s something I thought would happen eventually considering how anxious he seems a lot of the time.
Anyone else have suggestions? You know, other than (gulp) more meds?