The A Treatment Center
Offices in Pasadena, CA & Newport Beach / Corona Del Mar, CA
The uncontrollable impulsive pulling of hair. It can be on any part of your body. Eyebrows, eyelashes, arm, or the most common, the hair on your head.
This is an unnerving anxiety impulse that can be reduced by hypnotherapy. Please go to the Hypnotherapy page for more info.
Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
Trichotillomania. National Organization for Rare Disorders. http://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/trichotillomania/. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder). Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/obsessive-compulsive-and-related-disorders/trichotillomania. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
Iorizzo M, et al. Current and future treatments of alopecia areata and trichotillomania in children. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy. 2016;17:1767.
Grant JE, et al. Trichotillomania. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2016;173:868.
Woods DW, et al. Diagnosis, evaluation, and management of trichotillomania. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2014;37:301.
Rothbart R, et al. Pharmacotherapy for trichotillomania. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007662.pub2/full. Accessed Oct. 3, 2016.
Whiteside SP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 1, 2016.
Repeatedly pulling your hair out, typically from your scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes, but sometimes from other body areas, and sites may vary over time. Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots, which causes significant distress and can interfere with social or work functioning. People with trichotillomania may go to great lengths to disguise the loss of hair.
Tension increases before pulling until one cannot control it and the urge gets so strong , one must pull and can no longer resist pulling.
One experiences A sense of pleasure or relief after the hair is pulled.
Playing with pulled-out hair or rubbing it across your lips or face
Repeatedly trying to stop pulling out your hair or trying to do it less often without success.
Many people who have trichotillomania also pick their skin, bite their nails or chew their lips. Sometimes pulling hairs from pets or dolls or from materials, such as clothes or blankets, may be a sign. Most people with trichotillomania pull hair in private and generally try to hide the disorder from others.
For people with trichotillomania, hair pulling can be:
Focused. Some people pull their hair intentionally to relieve tension or distress — for example, pulling hair out to get relief from the overwhelming urge to pull hair. Some people may develop elaborate rituals for pulling hair, such as finding just the right hair or biting pulled hairs.
Automatic. Some people pull their hair without even realizing they're doing it, such as when they're bored, reading or watching TV.
The same person may do both focused and automatic hair pulling, depending on the situation and mood. Certain positions or rituals may trigger hair pulling, such as resting your head on your hand or brushing your hair.
Trichotillomania can be a way of dealing with negative or uncomfortable feelings, such as stress, anxiety, tension, boredom, loneliness, fatigue or frustration. People with trichotillomania often find that pulling out hair feels satisfying and provides a measure of relief. As a result, they continue to pull their hair to maintain these positive feelings. Trichotillomania is a long-term (chronic) disorder. Without treatment, symptoms can vary in severity over time. Trichotillomania is not just a bad habit, it's a mental health disorder, and it's unlikely to get better without treatment.
Many people with trichotillomania report feelings of shame and embarrassment due to noticeable hair loss, such as shortened hair or thinned or bald areas on the scalp or other areas of your body, including sparse or missing eyelashes or eyebrows.. They may experience low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and self medicate with the abuse of alcohol or drugs to reduce the anxiety. Embarrassment from hair loss cause one to avoid social activities and job opportunities. Some people may avoid intimacy for fear that their condition will be discovered. Constant hair pulling can cause scarring and other damage, including infections, to the skin on your scalp or the specific area where hair is pulled and can permanently affect hair growth.
Some people eat their hair. This can be a sign of Pica (eating of non-food items) but eating hair can cause hairballs. Eating your hair may lead to a large, matted hairball (trichobezoar) in your digestive tract. Over a period of years, the hairball can cause weight loss, vomiting, intestinal obstruction and even death.