Neurotic Excoriations and Compulsive Skin Picking

The more you look at Neurotic Excoriations, the more it seems to match some of the Morgellons sufferers you see on television.


Neurotic excoriations refers to the uncontrollable urge to pick and dig at the skin. This urge may be unconscious or may be deliberate in the belief that it corrects some minor abnormality or surface irregularity of the skin. The picking creates more pronounced abnormalities so that a vicious cycle is started. It involves picking, digging or scraping at the skin persistently often until what is described as a “thread” can be pulled from the skin. Many old scars, which can be disfiguring, are visible near areas of active picking. These pickers usually are middle-aged adults and may be depressed, anxious or obsessive-compulsive. Women are more likely to be affected than men.


Patients pick at areas until they can pull material from the skin. This may be referred to as “pulling a thread from the skin.”

Closely related to Neurotic Excoriation is Compulsive Skin Picking

From Wikipedia

It has been seen in psychoses of many people the ‘creation’ of foreign objects to satisfy the need to pick or damage one’s own skin. Many psychiatrists have studied this and found the only real cure is to immobilize the offending object (hands, etc.). The most success has been seen with protective casts to make the picking impossible. In these test cases the skin healed almost immediately, with outbreaks not recurring until the casts were removed.

Again, I come back to the “Delusions of Parasitosis”. I think it’s a major mistake to automatically equate Morgellons with Delusions of Parasitosis. Each case should be looked at individually, and in many cases a diagnosis of Neurotic Excoriation, or Compulsive Skin Picking, is more appropriate.

Fibers are not imagined parasites, they are just fibers found on the skin, and mistakenly though to be part of a disease.