Trichotillomania

Deanna Vinson

What is Trichotillomania?

  • A type of impulse control disorder.
  • People who know that they can damage by acting on impulses & can't stop themselves.
  • People with this disorder have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair.
  • Pulling of the hair, eyebrows & eyelashes

Causes

  • There is no specific cause known, but it could relate to abnormal pathways in the brain.
  • Which could link areas liked, emotional regulation, movement, habit formation & impulse control.
  • Some people with trichotillomania could have depression or anxiety.
  • Slight chance to run in the family.

Symptoms

Most people deny having problems, & cover it up by wearing hats, or anything to cover up.

  • Tense feeling
  • feeling relieved, satisfied or pleased after pulling hair.
  • Problems at school or work.
  • Bald spots where hair has been pulled
  • Twirling hair
  • Pulling hair between teeth
  • Chewing or eating hair

Diagnosed & Treatment

  • Based on presence of its signs & symptoms, no specific diagnostic.
  • Referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist for interview of patients control disorder.

Treatment


  • Behavior therapy called habit rehearsal training.
  • Could help patient to identify when or where he/she has the urge to pull hair.
  • Help them relax & do something other than pulling on their hair.
  • Medications could help some people, but hair pulling could reappear.

Complications

  • Infection
  • Skin damage
  • Permanent hair loss

These could lead to problems with self-esteem & body image. Could make them feel like the world is shutting them out.

Prevention

  • Learning stress management
  • Getting treatment as soon as symptoms occur.
  • There's no proven way to prevent trichotillomania though.