What Is Trichotillomania And How To Effectively Get Rid Of It

Trichotillomania is a medical condition that involves pulling of hair when under stress or anxiety. People affected with this condition are unable to resist the urge to pull out their hair, and this condition is mostly linked to an underlying mental disorder but generally remains undiagnosed. The stressful conditions are relieved only when hair is pulled out until the urge lasts. However, for some, it is manageable. Hang on as we discuss more trichotillomania and the ways to control, prevent, or get rid of the condition altogether.

Symptoms of Trichotillomania

  • Recurrent pulling of hair, sometimes from specific areas like the eyebrows or eyelashes.
  • Irresistible urge to pull out hair and a sense of relief after hair is successfully pulled.
  • Noticeable hair loss with visible patches of short and thin hair.
  • Pulling out hair in patterns.
  • A habit of feeling the hair on the mouth area, face, or even chewing and eating the pulled-off hair.
  • Failing to stop yourself from pulling hair is triggered when peer pressure, stress at work, or any related event occurs.

People with trichotillomania also have a habit of chewing their nails and the skin on their lips. Most of the affected try to hide their condition from everyone and prefer to commit these acts in private. Trichotillomania can either be focused or automatic. In the first type, the affected individual is aware that they are pulling the hair to ease their urge and develop a certain set of rules to follow when they pull hair. Whereas, in automatic type, the person is unaware that they are pulling out hair at times they get bored or when they are doing something with concentration.

Risk Factors and Complications

  • Having a family member suffering from trichotillomania makes you prone to develop the condition.
  • Teens exposed to high levels of stress can develop this hair-pulling disorder. This usually starts at the age between 10 to 13 years. Some experience mild symptoms that resolve with age. However, others see it as a lifelong problem.
  • Sometimes, trichotillomania is accompanied by other psychological, mental, or psychiatric disorders.

Most people suffering from the condition experience emotional distress. They remain in fear of embarrassment or humiliation and might indulge in drug abuse. Avoiding social gatherings or public events becomes a norm and keeps their relationships limited, only to be able to hide their condition. Trichotillomania presents itself in various forms. Because of this reason, it is always best to have a better understanding of the condition, in which you can learn more here, as gathering relevant knowledge makes it easier to cope up with it effectively. While some people might develop mild conditions and easily recover from them, others could fail. So, understanding the factors that create stress in the first place and ways to avoid them helps a lot in managing trichotillomania.

Dealing with Trichotillomania

As few cases of trichotillomania are diagnosed, there is limited data to research, study, and find ways to treat the disease. However, there are some effective treatments and therapies that help the affected individuals by many folds.

  • Habit Reversal Training - a type of behavioral therapy and serves as a preferred treatment for trichotillomania. This therapy focuses on teaching the patient how to avert the urge to pull hair out when in certain situations. These urges are substituted by practicing alternate behaviors. For example, when you feel like pulling out hair will let you relax, rub your hands together or touch your ear instead.
  • Cognitive therapy - another form of treatment that aids in clearing out disoriented thoughts and any triggers that are related to hair pulling.
  • Acceptance therapy - also assists in tackling the urges by making yourself strong mentally.
  • Support groups help a lot in coping up with the disease.

The therapies mentioned above are started in combination with necessary medications that help to tackle anxiety, depression, and related mental disorders.

Trichotillomania directly affects the way we function. People suffering from TTM report missing days at work, feeling demotivated most of the time, and are unable to set clear career goals. The social acceptability of people affected by this condition is very low that further aggravates their symptoms and increases stress. Although there are no FDA-approved medications, still, antidepressants and related medications are prescribed by the doctor after extensive evaluation.

If you have been experiencing the urge to pull out your hair, the first step is to seek advice from a professional. Furthermore, let your doctor know the details of the symptoms you are experiencing. Tell them if you already have a family member affected by trichotillomania. Lastly, don't forget to inform your doctor in detail about how many times you feel the urge to pull out hair, the instances that trigger the act, and the areas you pull your hair from. Letting them know all this information will not only benefit you in understanding your condition better but also give the doctor valuable insight for effective management and possible treatment.