Trichotillomania is a disorder that involves repeated, irresistible urges and impulses to pull hair from your scalp, eyebrows, or other parts of your body. The sufferer tries to stop and resist this urge, but cannot control it.

After prolonged pulling and plucking of scalp hairs, individual bald spots are oftenremained, causing considerable distress and anxiety. This can negatively affect his professional and social life.

People with trichotillomania often let their hair grow longer to hide the bald patches that have formed.

For some people, trichotillomania can be a relatively mild and generally manageable condition. However, for others, the urge to pull and pull out hair is strikingly strong.

Some treatment methods have helped many people to reduce or stop their hair pulling altogether.

The signs and symptoms of trichotillomania most often include:

– Repeated pulling and plucking of hair, most often from the scalp, but also from eyebrows, eyelashes from other parts of the body;< /p>

– Increasing feeling of tension in the sufferer before plucking or when trying to resist plucking;

– The feeling of temporary pleasure or relief after the hair has been plucked;

– Bald areas on the scalp or other areas of your body, including sparse or missing eyelashes and eyebrows;

– Preferences for specific hair pulling patterns;

– Biting, chewing or swallowing the plucked hair;

– Cracking of the root of the hair with teeth is sometimes observed;

– Playing with plucked hair or rubbing the lips or face;

Most people who have trichotillomania also bite their cuticles, bite their nails, or chew their lips. Sometimes pulling hair from pets, dolls, clothes and blankets can also be a sign.

Most people with trichotillomania pull hair out of their hair when they are alone and generally try to hide their disorder from others.

Plucking hairs can be:

Deliberate. Some people pull their hair deliberately to relieve tension or anxiety – for example, pulling and plucking hair to get relief. Some people may perform elaborate hair-pulling rituals, such as finding the exact hair, biting the already pulled hair, or eating it.

– Unconsciously. Some people pull their hair without even realizing they are doing it, such as when they are bored, reading a book or watching TV.

In the same person, both conscious and unconscious plucking of hairs from the hair can occur, depending on the situation and mood. Certain positions of the body, for example resting with a hand on the head, can provoke hair loss in the sufferer of this disease.

Trichotillomania is a long-term (chronic) disorder. Without treatment, symptoms can vary in severity over time. For example, hormonal changes during menstruation can worsen symptoms in some women.

For some people who are not treated, symptoms may appear and then go away for weeks, months or years. In very rare cases, the disorder disappears within a few years after it started.


The cause of trichotillomania is still unclear. Like many other complex diseases, it probably results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. An imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, can also play an important role.

The following factors increase the risk of trichotillomania:

– Family history – genetics can play an important role in the development of trichotillomania. A disorder is more likely to occur in families where there is another person with the disorder.

– Age. Trichotillomania usually develops just before or during the early teenage years. Most cases begin between the ages of 11 and 13. This age is considered the most at-risk for the condition.

– Negative emotions – for many people with trichotillomania, hair pulling is a way of coping with negative or unpleasant feelings, such as stress, anxiety, tension, loneliness, fatigue or feelings of dissatisfaction.

– Other disorders – people who have trichotillomania can often suffer from other disorders, such as depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.

In general, far more women than men have been treated for trichotillomania to date. Most likely, however, this is due to the fact that women are more likely to seek medical help.

One reason for doubting the smaller number of affected males is that in early childhood boys and girls are virtually equally affected.


Although it may not seem like a particularly serious illness, trichotillomania can have a big impact on your life.

complications may include:

– Emotional stress. Many people with proven trichotillomania feel shame, humiliation, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety as a result of their condition.

– Problems in the social sphere and work. Embarrassment due to hair loss can cause you to avoid social activities and professional opportunities.

People with trichotillomania may wear wigs and concealing hairstyles to hide bald spots or wear false eyelashes. Some people may avoid intimacy for fear that their condition will be revealed.

– Serious damage to hair and skin. Constant plucking can cause abrasions and other damage, including infection, to the skin on the scalp or the specific area where the hair is plucked and can affect future hair growth.

– Formation of hairballs. Eating your hair can result in a large, matted ball of hair in your digestive tract. Over the years, the ingested hairball can lead to weight loss, vomiting, intestinal obstruction, and even death.

Treatment of trichotillomania

Research on the manic condition and its treatment is still limited worldwide. However, there are some treatment options that have helped many people reduce hair pulling and even stop it altogether.


Substitution training is one of the main methods of psychotherapy in trichotillomania. This type of therapy helps teach sufferers how to recognize situations in which they are more likely to start pulling hair out of their hair and how to replace it with other types of behavior instead.

For example, they may clench their fists until the urge goes away or move their hand from their hair to their ear.

Other therapies:

– Cognitive therapy – can help trichotillomania sufferers get to the “source” and understand the deep meaning that pulling and plucking their own hair can have for them.

– Acceptance therapy – sufferers are given the opportunity to learn to accept their hair pulling urges without reacting and wait for them to pass.


There are no medications designed specifically to treat trichotillomania. However, some medications can help control your symptoms.

For example, your doctor may recommend an antidepressant to ease symptoms. Other medications considered effective include N-acetylcysteine, an amino acid that affects mood-related neurotransmitters such as and olanzapine, a type of atypical antipsychotic.

Talk to your doctor about any medication he or she prescribes and do not take medication without his or her approval. The potential benefits of medication for the treatment of trichotillomania must always be balanced against the possible side effects.

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