What is Trichotillomania?

What is trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania, also known as trich, is a repetitive condition that urges people to pull out their own hair. People who suffer from this hair pulling disorder have an irresistible impulse to rip out hair resulting in hair loss. Many pull hair out from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes or other body parts.

The symptoms: where it happens?

This compulsive behavior generally takes place during sedentary activities such as lying in bed, while reading, talking on the phone, driving a car, using the bathroom, or working on a computer. However, for others, it’s quite the opposite: physical outdoor activities trigger this behavior. Many individuals with Trichotillomania are generally unaware that they are pulling out their own hair. Instead, they may only realize it once they discover piles of hair, scratches on the scalp, open wounds, or bloody fingers. The severity of this behavior varies significantly from person to person. Hair loss can range from thinning to complete baldness.

When does it start?

Trichotillomania mostly occurs in early childhood. Studies have shown that it happens anywhere between the ages of 9-14. It is not unusual that this phenomenon is found in children under the age of 1!

What causes it?

Certain studies suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to developing Trichotillomania. However, we are yet to see any concrete evidence relating to the causes behind this hair pulling disorder. As the exact cause of the condition is unknown, it’s generally linked to post-traumatic stress, anxiety, or people who have OCD. For some, it’s a way of relieving stress and anxiety, and for others, it may be due to hormones, or even boredom.

The consequences

People who suffer from this hair pulling disorder experience conflicting and mixed feelings. On the one hand, there is an overwhelming impulse to tear one’s hair that offers a kind of satisfaction from ripping off their strands. And on the other hand, they know that it’s not good for their hair, but the urges get stronger and stronger the more they resist this impulse. This can cause emotional distress and physical damage to the body. All this results in bald patches on the scalp, along with intense feelings of shame and embarrassment. Some people may feel self-conscious and end up closing themselves off from the world.

Is there a solution for this hair pulling disorder?

Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy have been known to be successful. Treatments can be tailored to fit the person’s condition. Although some therapists advocate medication, we prefer to opt for natural solutions. We believe that treatments using aromatherapy with essential oils can help reduce and deal with anxiety and stress.

Find more information about Trichotillomania here.

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