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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Obsessive Extreme Inner Lip Biting


 0218508 - Sat May 09, 2009 12:47 am

I am posing this question here because I assume I have some type of anxiety disorder.
I created a new topic because mine is extremely severe and not like any typical 'lip picking or chewing' ...

A bit of my history that is relevant, I am 22 year old female, 103 pounds, 5'4. I am strict about my eating habits. Probably borderline anorexic. I am strict about being ''perfect'' at school, plucking all body hair/ pubic hair (yes I said plucking) etc...

I don't drink/smoke. I have a University Degree. Just graduated.

My problem: For as long as I can remember - as long as I have had teeth I have gotten the severe urge / tingle in my lips, / anxiety / to bite into them. I am not talking picking or just grabbing the skin of my cheek with my teeth. I mean severely breaking the skin, taking massive chunks out of my cheeks and inner lips. It bleeds uncontrollably usually I swallow the blood and keep going until I feel ''satisfied''. Every time I do this I don't feel pain I feel relief. I have areas where I bite, upper top lips, or bottoms, or side bottoms of my lips. Not usually the cheeks. It is the equivalent of self mutilation. It causes canker sores a day or two later to form where I have bitten my lips. When I do it really badly I cannot talk properly, my lips are swollen, I cannot kiss my bf, -- I cannot even eat properly because the pain afterward is so bad. I know I am biting, I don't do it in my sleep.

I've tried mouth guards, snapping a rubber band on my wrist when I get the urge to bite, I've tried hypnosis, I've tried mouthwash, eliminating certain foods or sugar, it sometimes happens around the time I get my period. I've seen my dentist, my doctor, both are stumped and say its a mental thing. I've used numbing creams, ambesol, Kanka, all those. Nothing works. I spit out the mouth guard, I take off the rubber band, I always resort back to biting because the urge overwhelms me. I get a surge of relaxation from biting. An overwhelming sense of relief.

So what is it? Do I have OCD? How do I fix this? I have bitten it so badly its scarred and I have almost needed stitches. pls help.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Thu May 14, 2009 2:44 pm

Hello 0218508,

Your self-mutilating behavior and perfectionism could be a symptom of several psychological disorders, and requires interview and evaluation by a psychologist and/or psychiatrist. Self-mutilation behaviors are often related to a need to be in control, and are related to obsessive-compulsive diagnoses. If your doctors are not within the mental health arena, please seek a referral to a psychologist and/or psychiatrist, or make an appointment with a local mental health agency for evaluation and treatment. You would likely benefit from a combination of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications. Some behavioral modification treatment may also be an option. Your description suggests tremendous inner pain, and I urge you to seek psychological treatment as soon as you can.

Good luck to you.
Faye, RN, MSW
 0218508 - Thu May 21, 2009 9:37 pm

Thank you. Up until now my family doctor has been stumped. I too, am stumped. I sometimes take Cipralex (an anti-depressant,) but I do not like the way they make me feel.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:54 pm

Hello again, 0218508,

I've read your reply and just wanted to add that I hope things are going well for you, and that you've engaged in successful psychiatric/psychological treatment. I continue to wish you the very best.

Good luck!

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