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Why People Can’t Stop Pulling Their Hair: 10 Truth About Trichotillomania

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Have you ever heard of Trichotillomania, a disorder where people find satisfaction and relief in pulling out their hair or fur rather than feeling pain? It may seem like a habit of touching the hair, but this disorder goes further to plucking it out. Despite repeated efforts to reduce or stop the number of times they pull their hair, they ultimately fail, causing severe distress in social life. We explored the symptoms and treatments for trichotillomania.

What is Trichotillomania?

Do you find yourself habitually touching your hair without realizing it? It’s not just stroking or touching but continuously pulling out your hair. This persistent habit is referred to as Trichotillomania, a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder characterized by repetitive hair pulling that leads to hair loss.

What if Trichotillomania Leads to Hair Loss?

If the habit of pulling hair isn’t corrected, no hair loss treatment can address trichotillomania. Even cutting the hair short does not cure this stubborn disease. However, if Trichotillomania is not chronic, simply reducing the number of times you pull your hair can improve hair growth, eliminating the need for treatment. After behavior correction, it takes six months to a year to regain the original thickness and length of the hair.

Causes of Trichotillomania

The exact cause of trichotillomania is unknown but can be divided into biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Biological factors could include serotonin disorders, which are closely related to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Environmental factors could stem from unstable attachment relationships, and finally, severe stress or feelings of psychological isolation can play a decisive role in the onset of Trichotillomania.

Treatment Methods

When you feel the urge to pull your hair, replacing it with another action is good. First, find an activity to divert your attention while resting and increase that time. Since pulling hair is often associated with anxiety, try various attempts to reduce stress. If you can’t do it alone, visiting a mental health clinic for treatment is a good idea.

Symptoms of Trichotillomania

People feel tension before pulling hair; after pulling, they feel relief, satisfaction, and a sense of release. The most common symptom is pulling the scalp, followed by eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard, in that order. When pulling hair, they don’t complain of any particular pain and sometimes accompany behaviors like banging their heads or biting their nails.

Diagnosis Criteria for Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania occurs more than ten times more in women than in men and can be divided into early onset, which appears before the age of 6, and full onset, which starts around the age of 13. The prognosis is relatively good for early onset, while it’s not good for full onset. It is diagnosed as Trichotillomania when symptoms of repetitive hair pulling lead to hair loss or when pain or damage from hair pulling is significant.

Three Types of Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania can be divided into focused, automatic, and mixed types. The focused type is aware of their hair-pulling behavior and pulls their hair due to negative emotions or intense impulses. The automatic type pulls hair at an unconscious level and often pulls their hair while watching TV or waiting for a bus. The mixed type is a combination of focused and automatic types.

Self-Diagnosis Test

You’ve developed a habit of pulling your hair in daily life / You feel a refreshing sensation rather than pain when you pull your hair / You have been under a lot of stress lately / Hair no longer grows in the area where you pulled your hair / You have anxiety symptoms or psychological problems / You also pull out eyebrows or other parts besides hair / You often feel depressed or anxious / You feel satisfied after pulling your hair / You can’t relieve stress unless you pull your hair / If you relate to 3-4 of these, you need to be tested as you may have early symptoms of Trichotillomania.

Prevent Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania can be prevented from worsening through care and psychological counseling from those around you. It is also important to create your hobbies, and efforts are needed to recognize and correct wrong behaviors. You should also be able to control your impulses, and it’s important to take breaks often and enjoy leisure time.

Many Cases Leave Aftereffects

Trichotillomania often leaves considerable aftereffects over time. Also, many cases are greatly affected by anxiety, depression, and stress during adolescence. If a child around you shows even minor symptoms, discussing them with the child and showing concern rather than ignoring them is good.

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