Trichotillomania is a repetitive, compulsive behavior also known as ‘hair-pulling disorder’. People with the condition have a frequent, and often uncontrollable desire to pull out their own hair. Attention is generally focused on the scalp. But it can also include eyebrows, eyelashes, and even beards. The condition typically affects people during their childhood and early adult years. In general, it is more common in women than in men. It’s estimated that 1-2 percent of the US population experience Trichotillomania at some point in their lives. The behavior may stop on its own over time, but risks returning if the causes are not treated.

Trichotillomania treatments for hair lossSymptoms of Trichotillomania

People with the condition feel an intense, often irresistible urge to pull out their hair. Stress may intensify the behavior, and relief can be felt when hair is pulled out. In other cases, people do it not realizing they are pulling on their hair. The pulling out of hair can produce bald patches on the scalp as the hair follicles become damaged. These can vary in size and shape – and may be more prevalent on one side than the other. The condition often creates feelings of shame and embarrassment. Many sufferers feel a loss of self-esteem and social standing. This can also intensify the behavior and as a result – many people do not seek professional help.

Causes of Trichotillomania Hair Loss

There is no single cause of Trichotillomania. Research continues as a way to better understand this condition. Some of the known triggers include:

  • A method of dealing with stress and anxiety
  • A mild form of self-harm as a way of coping with emotional distress
  • A chemical imbalance in the brain, akin to OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  • Changes in hormones caused by puberty

Aside from physical pain and damage, Trichotillomania can also be very addictive. For many people, the urge to pull out their hair grows stronger every time they do it.

Effective Trichotillomania Treatment Options

For Trichotillomania hair loss suffers, there are two main treatment options. These are behavioral therapy and medication. In some cases, the two are used in combination.

Behavioral therapy helps sufferers understand the causes of their hair-pulling. It also teaches them ways to fight the urge. This can include ‘substitute behaviors’ – replacing hair-pulling with less harmful actions. Goals and incentives can also be helpful ways to break long-term habits.

Medication can be an effective short-term treatment. But it will often fail if not combined with behavioral therapy. For some, medication can reduce the anxiety which is triggering the hair-pulling. By decreasing the symptoms, therapy can then work towards eliminating the behavior altogether. If you suffer from Trichotillomania, we recommend seeking help. Professional treatment can reduce the effects – and improve your quality of life.

Solutions for Hair Loss & Thinning Hair

If you or someone you know suffers with trichotillomania, there are treatments to help. There are also wigs that individuals can wear that will hide their bald patches which can help them regain some of their self-confidence. Whether you live in Huntsville, Alabama, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, or anywhere in between, if you are experiencing the devastating effects of hair loss and would like to learn more about non-surgical hair replacement options available to you, we invite you to consider scheduling a free private, confidential consultation with an experienced hair loss professional near you.