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Home » Expert Q & A » Impulse Control Disorders » Impulse Control Disorders: Jim LaPierre

Hard Habits to Break

  • anonymous Asks ...
    anonymous

    I like to go clubbing. I got into the habit of picking at my skin and grinding my teeth from doing a lot of ecstasy and coke and speed. Now I can’t stop even though I am not really into that scene any more and don’t really do drugs very often. My dentist wants me to wear a retainer at night to protect my teeth because it’s so bad I have ground most of my enamel off. I pick the skin around my scalp and I do it whenever I am distracted now. I have these gross sores and I have to wear a headband all the time to hide them. I have tried everything I can think of to stop myself but it’s so frustrating because whenever I forget to think about it I just start doing it thoughtlessly again. Help!

  • Jim LaPierre Says ...
    Jim LaPierre

    It sounds like while you were under the influence you developed some habits that you associate with a sense of nervousness. I'm wondering how often you experience feelings of anxiety while you're clean and sober? Glad you got out of that scene with X and coke but the habits remain. Wearing a retainer makes sense and keeping your hands occupied (stress ball, holding a pen in your dominant hand, doing any kind of craft work) will help you to avoid picking.

    I'd urge you to consider how mindful you are of your emotions and to notice feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, or worry and consider coping with these more adaptively. Anything we want to change requires greater awareness - journaling is good for this. I'd also encourage you to have a physical check up with your doctor and ask specifically about the condition of your scalp and see if there are treatment options to help the healing.

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