Pulling Hair Out: Living with Trichotillomania

For many, pulling hair out is their worst fear. It’s the last thing that they want to think about when getting ready in the morning. For some, pulling hair out has become a part of their daily routine. But for others, pulling hair out can be triggered by something as simple as being at home or even putting on clothes. This disorder is known as trichotillomania and it affects more than 4 million people in America alone!

What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a disorder that causes people to pull out their hair. This can be from any part of the body but is most commonly seen in the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Trichotillomania can also involve pulling out pubic hair, facial hair, and other body hair.

It’s a repetitive behavior that can be done subconsciously. It’s usually done without anyone realizing it, and pulling out hair can become a habit that goes on for years. This disorder oftentimes runs in families but may also result from another mental health issue such as anxiety or depression.

Symptoms of Trichotillomania

The main symptom of trichotillomania is pulling out hair. This can be done consciously or unconsciously. Other symptoms include:

  • Feeling a need to pull out hair
  • Pulling out a hair in response to stress or anxiety
  • Noticing bald patches on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, etc.
  • Experiencing feelings of tension before pulling out hair and relief after pulling out hair
  • Feeling embarrassed or ashamed about pulling the hair 

What are Risk Factors?

Some risk factors for trichotillomania include:

  • A family history of the disorder
  • Experiencing a traumatic event
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Perfectionism
  • Low self-esteem 

What Causes Trichotillomania?

The exact cause is unknown but many believe that trichotillomania originates from a combination of biological and environmental factors. There may be a genetic component to trichotillomania as it often runs in families. Some people may also develop trichotillomania, or pulling hair out, after experiencing a traumatic event.

Is It Focused or Automatic?

Trichotillomania is considered to be a focused pulling disorder which means that pulling hair out can happen on purpose. This form of trichotillomania is often referred to as “focal pulling.”  

How is Trichotillomania Treated?

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for trichotillomania. Treatment options may include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This type of therapy helps people change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to pulling out hair.
  • Habit Reversal Training (HRT) – This type of therapy teaches people how to replace hair pulling with different behavior.
  • Medication – Some people may require medication to help treat trichotillomania. 

Are Treatments Effective?

The majority of people who receive treatment for trichotillomania see a significant improvement in their symptoms. However, the disorder can be difficult to treat and some people may relapse after treatment. 

Are Complications Possible?

Yes, some complications are possible with trichotillomania. These can include:

  • Infection from pulling out hair
  • Skin damage from pulling out hair
  • Permanent hair loss 

The Psychological Effects of Hair Loss

Pulling hair out can cause a cycle of anxiety and shame. And when people with trichotillomania experience bald patches, they may feel embarrassed in public or even avoid certain activities.  This can lead to a decrease in self-esteem and even depression.

What Can I Do?

While pulling hair can be a difficult habit to break, there are things you can do. When pulling hair out becomes an addiction it’s important to get help from a medical professional or therapist. You might want to try some of these strategies:

  • Keep your hands busy by doing another activity like knitting 
  • Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep and exercise 
  • Avoid stressful situations as much as possible 
  • Practice stress management techniques like yoga or meditation 
  • Talk to a friend or family member about what you’re going through 

How Can I Help Myself?

If you are struggling with trichotillomania, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself:

  • Keep a journal – This can help you track your progress and identify any triggers that may contribute to pulling out hair.
  • Avoid stressful situations as much as possible – This can be difficult but may help reduce the urge to pull out hair.
  • Seek professional help – If you find that you are struggling to manage trichotillomania on your own, reach out for professional help.
  • Join support groups – Connecting with other people who are going through the same struggles can be beneficial in many ways. 

Living with Trichotillomania

For many people, living with trichotillomania can be a challenge. They may feel ashamed or embarrassed about their disorder and may find it difficult to talk about it. This can lead to isolation and loneliness. Those with trichotillomania may also struggle with other mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression.

If you or someone you know is struggling with trichotillomania, please seek help. There are many resources available to help you manage your disorder and lead a fulfilling life.

Living with Trichotillomania can be a challenge. There are many resources available to help you manage your disorder and lead a fulfilling life!

If You Suspect Trichotillomania…

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have trichotillomania, it’s important to seek help. The sooner you get treatment, the better! You can talk to your doctor or find a therapist who specializes in trichotillomania. There are also online support groups available for people struggling with this disorder.

If you’re pulling out hair compulsively, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. There are many treatment options available and with the right support, you can overcome this disorder. Remember, you’re not alone! Thousands of people in America struggle with trichotillomania every day. Don’t let hair pulling control your life – take back control today!

FAQ

Is It Bad to Pull a Hair Out?

No, pulling out a hair is not bad. However, when it becomes an addiction or results in skin damage, it can be harmful. 

Why Does Pulling Hair Out Feel Good?

When pulling hair out, people may experience a sense of relief or satisfaction. This is because pulling the hair triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response which releases dopamine in the brain.

Why Does My Hair Pull Out So Easy?

There are many reasons why hair may pull out easily. One reason may be that the individual has thinning hair or bald patches. Another reason may be that the person is pulling their hair out compulsively.

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