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new poster--compulsion problem


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I am not sure if this is the right place to post, but hopefully someone can offer me some advice. I get acne on my chest and back and I get quite anxious about how it looks, especially during summer beach/pool season. Basically, thinking about how it looks, I pick at the acne and it makes it look worse/scarred up and I feel even worse about it and I guess the cycle continues. I also get itching sensations and that triggers the compulsive behavior as well. I was hoping to see if anyone had any kind of techniques to try and avoid this compulsion/habit/whatever (I don't really know how I should define it).

I'm a jittery, nervous person by nature and I am frequently fidgeting, biting my nails, picking at myself, etc. I need to get over this problem. I am about to enter into a situation (beginning my first year of law school in august) where I will be under a great deal of stress, and I am anxious that the stress I will be under will trigger the compulsion to pick at the acne. Alright, I would very much appreciate any advice anyone can give me on techniques to try and eliminate this compulsion. I already work out regularly and at one point thought working out more might help, but it really does little to help me. I'm open to anything that will help me kick this awful habit. thanks so much.

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A few thoughts.

1) why not visit a dermatologist and receive treatment for the acne directly? There are lots of treatments that can substantially reduce acne. Not that this will remove your stress or compulsivity, but it will at least get that one thing off your mind.

2) Working out is wonderful and for many people it is stress relieving. However, some people find it competative and that it amps them up rather than tiring them out. So - another way you might direct your energy would be towards something that has a stress-relieving function - like certain kinds of yoga that are "restorative", or a meditation class (see our podcast with Shinzen Young), or a relaxation technique such as progessive muscle relaxation, or guided visualization.

We're on the verge of publishing a major update to our stress management topic center. I wish I had that available to link to tonight, but I don't :).


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