Picking of nails and skin with my 6 y... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Picking of nails and skin with my 6 year old.... Help!

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I am new here and seeking help. My 6 year old son who has ADHD and is taking Adderrall XR is picking the skin off of the top of his fingers. I spoke to him about it several time and whenever I am around, I can get him to sit on his hands or do something else so it doesnt happen, but its mostly bad when he comes home from school and its bloody or picked almost all the way to the bottom of his thumb. I have since spoken to him and told him until we can stop doing so, I will have to cut his nails really short to keep him from doing so, but his nails grow really really quickly so if I miss cutting them every other day basically we are back to square ones and I also do not want to cut too short, in risking hurting him.

I have googled and talked him to death in trying to figure out why or how to stop it with no solution and I am really out of resources or ideas! We start therapy on June 17th (Have been waiting for 4 months to find a spot with a therapist that takes our insurance), but until then I am on my own to figure this out.

Any help would be appreciated it...

Thank you,


6 Replies

I’m sorry you’re going through this! I am pressed for time and apologize for not responding personally but I believe this recent thread may have some ideas fir you. I responded at length (redpanda5) because my daughter suffers from this too. The doctor told us it’s rooted in anxiety which she was also diagnosed with in addition to ADHD. Please reach out if you have other questions after reading this post! Hang in there!👍🏻


Hi, I'm Nehemiah. I have ADHD and I also at random times will chew my fingers, nails and skin of my knuckles. Trust me its extremely hard to stop, I'm not paying attention and all of a sudden I'm tearing up my fingers again. I did this before and and after starting Adderall XR. Its become a little worse recently with online schooling. ADHD can come with many comorbidities including anxiety. Adderall XR makes it slightly worse occasionally. Just a note, without the Adderall my anxiety would be way higher. However, finding the right anxiety med may help. I'm finding the right dose now, but its a process. I was not at all able to communicate high anxiety to my parents at a young age. I would say google and watch for signs of anxiety around new people to a more severe degree. Absolutely may not be the case. Sorry to worry you, I'm all over the place sometimes. You can try introducing Magnesium Glycinate for Adderall side affects. I started taking it and my headaches went away when I forgot to eat, I stopped jaw clenching, and the drop from the medication wearing off made me moody and start biting my fingers so it helped slightly with that too. So google vitamins for Adderall side affects make sure he is drinking plenty of water and consult your doctor before anything, of course.

Honestly after writing that long thing. Its just him coming down off the Adderall. Imagine someone taking your dopamine. Causes anxiety. Adderall depletes a lot of vitamins. They can also prescribe a lower short acting dose given right before coming home so that it weens off at the end of the day which is better for side effects.

Thank you for your kind comments nehedun2 he has been doing this for years prior to the medication, we had a calm period in between and then it came back. I know that it’s related to anxiety which he can’t control and we have done behavior therapies and he knows to do breathing exercise or take a moment when things get overwhelming but I just want a solution to keep him from hurting himself!

Thank you,


My 5 year old son has the same habit. It developed after we started him on Ritalin. Our psychiatrist is trying him on an anxiety med to see if it is a comorbidity with ADHD. We haven't seen improvement yet, but we're hopeful.

He's doing it to relieve anxiety, its compulsive for him now and its what works. He probably doesn't realize it sometimes. Just zones right into it. I know I'm guessing a lot, but my point is you have to find a better outlet to his finger picking, which you already know. Which I think was your originally question. ADHD sorry stick with me. Have him take something to school that will draw anxiety positively for the time being. Fidget spinner, stress ball, favorite action figure he wont put down and can still write with his other hand. Google fidget toys. Mine was a oral fixation and I chewed every pen and rubber eraser until I grew up and nothings in my hands anymore to relieve it positively. I may have just solved my own issue. I guess ill buy some pens to chew on. My fingers are bleeding even now. Also let him choose which one he takes. I think it would be a reward system for him to be able to check his own behavior during the day. He'll remember I can take the other one tomorrow. ADHD makes habit forming difficult so reward system must be constant and never taken away. Just something along those lines might help. Also I know you've probably thought of a gloves. Talking with his teacher about being cognizant during the day our making him wear the gloves could work, but it might make him stand out. So save for desperate. Talk to the teacher about any method you try. ADHD makes memory hard so he may lose fidgets toys. So having teachers aware will help. This site has been a godsend to me and they have great articles about everything ADD and ADHDadditudemag.com/body-focuse...

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