Sunday, December 9, 2012

Trichotillomania (Hair-pulling disorder)

What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-ne-uh) is an irresistible urge to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body. Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots, which people with trichotillomania may go to great lengths to disguise.
For some people, trichotillomania may be mild and generally manageable. For others, the urge to pull hair is overwhelming and can be accompanied by considerable distress. Some treatment options have helped many people reduce their hair pulling or stop entirely.
People with trichotillomania pull hair out at the root from places like the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or pubic area. Some people pull large handfuls of hair, which can leave bald patches on the scalp or eyebrows. Other people pull out their hair one strand at a time. Some inspect the strand after pulling it out or play with the hair after it's been pulled. About half of people with the condition put the hair in their mouths after pulling it. Some people are very aware of their pulling; others seem to do it without really noticing what they're doing.

It might be hard to understand why some people would pull their own hair or eyelashes out — or why they wouldn't just stop. But trichotillomania isn't just an ordinary habit that a person can easily stop.

Trichotillomania is a type of compulsive behavior. This means that people with the condition feel an overwhelming urge to pull their hair. They also may have other compulsive habits, such as nail biting or skin picking. Some also have problems like depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Compulsive behaviors like trichotillomania involve brain chemistry and may be genetic (meaning they can sometimes run in families).

People with trichotillomania may feel embarrassment, frustration, shame, or depression about the condition. They may worry about what others will think or say. They may feel nagged by people who don't understand that they're not doing this on purpose. They usually try to hide the behavior from others — even their families. This can make it difficult to get help.

Having trichotillomania can affect how people feel about themselves. Some are self-conscious about how hair pulling affects their appearance. Because of this, they might feel less confident about making friends or dating. Others might feel powerless to control the urge to pull or blame themselves for not being able to stop. Feelings like these can cause a person's self-image to suffer.
The causes of this disorder are unkown to medical professors today.


It is strongly advised to speak to a therapist about this issue. It's something very hard to stop, especially for people who do it without realising. After doing some research, and putting lots of different technique together, I've came up with this:
1. Write a diary/journal/notes on what you usually are doing/thinking when you pull your hair out. It is important to realise what makes you feel the urge to pull your own hair out.
2. Try to avoid these things, if possible. If you can't possibly avoid it (doing homework, watching tv...etc.) then while doing it, always keep yours hands occupied. Whether it's holding something, knitting, sewing, drawing. And don't put them down, tell yourself you'll pull your hair once you've finished, but then if you've finished whatever you were doing and you still feel these urges, then start something else, until these urges go away.
3. It can get very hard at times, but this behaviour isn't good for you, mentally or physically. It has to stop. And as time passes by, it gets easier and these urges will disappear or significantly reduce.
4. Talk to someone about it, family, friends, a support group. You need that emotional support. Talking about it to somebody will make you feel better. If you honestly don't know who to speak to, then please contact me.
5. If you do it as a form of self-harm, to cause yourself pain, then you can "harmlessly" hurt yourself. Try holding ice-cubes, or putting them against where you usually pull your hair out.
6. To relieve stress, instead of pulling out your hair:
  • Talk to somebody about how you feel. 
  • Write/type.. Rant! Write whatever you feel like writing, whether it's about why you're stressed, how you're feeling, writing always helps! No one has to see it, but if you want to show somebody, then go ahead!
  • Go for a walk. Go clear your head. A walk and a good dose of fresh air greatly helps.
  • Take a hot/cold shower. Depends on who you are, but taking a hot or cold shower can really help soothe and calm you. Taking a hot, relaxing bath helps too.
  • Plug your earphones in, turn the volume up, and yell along to whatever you're listening to. You'll be surprised how much it helps!
  • Scream into your pillow.
  • Phyiscally abuse your pillow if you feel the need to do so!
  • Cry. Crying isn't something to be ashamed off. It doesn't mean your weak. Keeping your emotions bottled up doesn't help at all. Cry it all out, you might get a little headache afterwards, but these tears wash away all the stress.
But please, talk to someone a doctor or therapist. It isn't something embarrassing. They deal with this kind of stuff all the time. They will be happy to help you. Don't be afraid, you'll be grateful that you did it. I promise.

Stay strong,
You're beautiful.