What is Trichotillomania? 

Trichotillomania, which is also known as Hair-pulling can be an irrefutable need to pull the hair. The hair can be from the scalp, your legs, your arms, your eyebrows – anywhere that there is hair has been noted to be pulled when someone is suffering from Trichotillomania. Some people may have what is called “episode”, which can lead to a severe amount of hair being pulled out and can cause a lot of pain.  

The disorder can scale from Mild to Severe. Inevitably there are going to be significant hair loss, which is going to affect a person’s self-confidence and it cause distress. 

What are the signs and symptoms of trichotillomania? 

  • Repeatedly pulling your hair out, typically from your scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes, but sometimes from other body areas, and sites may vary over time 
  • An increasing sense of tension before pulling, or when you try to resist pulling 
  • A sense of pleasure or relief after the hair is pulled 
  • Noticeable hair loss, such as shortened hair or thinned or bald areas on the scalp or other areas of your body, including sparse or missing eyelashes or eyebrows 
  • Preference for specific types of hair, rituals that accompany hair pulling or patterns of hair pulling 
  • Biting, chewing or eating pulled-out hair 
  • Playing with pulled-out hair or rubbing it across your lips or face 

 

For sufferers it can be a way to focus and can feel automatic when triggered. Positive and negative emotions can follow which can lead it to become a patterned behaviour that can be linked to anxiety, self-harm and OCD. There can be several factors such as Age, Family History, Anxiety and stress. 

 

Is counselling an effective treatment for Trichotillomania? 

Yes. Through Psychotherapy the sufferer can work on the reasons why this happening, talk through the negative emotions and come to a deeper understanding of why this has replaced a healthy coping mechanism. CBT (cognitive Behaviour Therapy) can be particularly effective when treating Trichotillomania.  

Further reading and resources:

https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/trichotillomania

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/trichotillomania/

 

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