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Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children)

Anxious Habits

07/02/2001

Question:

Please help. My daughter is now 18, but she has been picking her skin since she was two. Every doctor had a diiferent diagnosis. She is so badly scarred that the plastic surgeon said her scarring is irriversible. She told me she can`t help it, that she prefers to pick rather than smoke. We have tried many different anti-depressants all to no avail. Counseling and goig to a psych didn't help either, she is currently on Zoloft now, and still no relief. Please help, she is desperate and it breaks my heart to watch her do this to herself. She doesn`t want to do it, she can`t help it.

Answer:

Symptoms such as you describe belong to the family of disorders related to obsessive-compulsive disorder spectrum. These types of disorder are now treated with serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as the one your daughter was taking but these disorders are difficult to treat and may require multiple attempts at treatment with different types of drug alone and in combination. I would urge your daughter to continue to seek treatment and be persistent in gaining greater knowledge about the disorder and treatments.

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Response by:

Floyd R Sallee, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati