Is picking scabs a sign that I have OCD?

J.Lucy Boyd

Picking scabs is a sign of dermatillomania, which means obsessive picking at the skin. Sometimes, picking at scabs is simply a habit that you can stop doing. If you find yourself feeling anxious when you try to control your picking, seek an evaluation by a mental health professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the standard treatment. In a large city, you may also be able to find group therapy as well.

People with OCD often have dermatillomania (around 23 percent according to the OCD Center of Los Angeles) so it is natural to wonder if someone with dermatillomania also has obsessive-compulsive disorder. The answer lies in whether they have classic OCD symptoms; such as getting worrisome thoughts in their mind that they cannot stop thinking about or compulsively performing actions such as checking a locked door.

It is quite possible to pick scabs but not have OCD. If you cannot stop picking on your own, or find that you develop a new habit to replace the picking, schedule an appointment with a mental health professional as they can help you understand your symptoms and provide you with effective treatment.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.