Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling Disorder)


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Trichotillomania is a disorder that is characterized by recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows, or other body areas. For many people with trichotillomania, hair-pulling is a way to cope with stress or negative emotions. While hair-pulling may provide temporary relief, it can also cause significant distress and problems in everyday life. If you are affected by trichotillomania, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. With treatment, you can learn how to manage your symptoms and maintain healthy hair growth.

Trichotillomania is a mental disorder that causes people to compulsively pull out their hair. It’s typically associated with anxiety and stress, so the best way to reduce the chances of developing Trichotillomania is by trying to avoid feeling overwhelmed or stressed. There are also surgical treatments available if you can’t get it under control on your own.

Is trichotillomania dangerous?

Trichotillomania is not dangerous, but some people that have it might get skin infections or ingrown hairs in the areas they pull hair from.

It might also be possible to develop depersonalization which is when you’re aware of your thoughts and feelings while feeling estranged from them at the same time, you’re watching them happen to you. This can lead to hallucinations or confusion about reality. You may feel like your thoughts are unreal, random, uncontrollable, or disorganized without any meaning whatsoever. And if left untreated for an extended period of time these changes could even lead to psychosis where your thoughts may seem manic and disconnected from reality most of the time making it difficult for others to understand what you think about.

The Percentage of Hair Pulled Areas in Trichotillomania

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Diagnostic criteria for trichotillomania according to DSM-IV

ARecurrent pulling out of one’s hair resulting in noticeable hair loss.
BAn increasing sense of tension immediately before pulling out the hair or when attempting to resist the behavior.
CPleasure, gratification, or relief when pulling out the hair.
DThe disturbance is not better accounted for by another mental disorder and is not due to a general medical condition (e.g., a dermatological condition).
EThe disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Trichotillomania (TTM) is a mental disorder characterized by a long-term compulsion that results in removing one’s hair, commonly known as hair-pulling disorder or compulsive hair-pulling. This happens to such a degree that it is possible to see hair loss. As the hair is plucked, a brief positive feeling can occur. Efforts to avoid hair-pulling usually fail. Hair removal can occur anywhere the head but around the eyes are more prominent. The sensation of pulling one’s hair can be excruciating.

It’s a type of disorder in which the person is unable to keep his or her urge to pluck their body hair under control. Even if a person tries to resist this plucking, they often fail to do so, sometimes unintentionally tearing their hair while doing another job (for example, studying, watching movies). This action gives them pleasure, and this sense of pleasure prevails over the negative consequences of this action, and the act of plucking takes place. Afterward, they experience a feeling of regret and guilt.

The most common body hairs that are affected are hair, beards, and eyebrows. On the other hand, pubic hair can be affected. Dermatologists often encounter these patients and refer patients to psychiatrists.

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Photo Source: @kimberleyquinlan

Antidepressant drugs are effective in treatment. Also psychotherapy is to understand the reasons behind the patient’s action and to find a solution.

How to Cure Trichotillomania?

There is currently no cure for trichotillomania. However, there are a number of treatments that have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms. These include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), habit reversal training (HRT), and medication.

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on identifying and changing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to hair pulling. Habit reversal training teaches people how to replace hair pulling with a more appropriate behavior. Medication may be prescribed to help reduce the urge to pull hair.

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Aaron Beck

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About Author

Currently studying psychology and researching cognitive behavioral therapy. Also have studied comprative literature,interested in gender studies,.

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