Trichotillomania is a condition that causes a person to compulsively pull out their own hair. It’s not very common, impacting only 0.5 to 2 percent of the population. Express.co.uk chatted to the experts at Hair Transplant Clinic FUE Clinics to find out everything you need to know about trichotillomania, including the nine symptoms to be aware of.
Trichotillomania is a condition that causes someone to pull out their own hair impulsively
It can occur in any region of the body – from the hair on the head to eyebrows or eyelashes.
Trichotillomania is more common in teenagers and young adults, but it can affect people of all ages.
Some examples of celebrities who suffer from the condition are Colin Farrell, Olivia Munn, Samantha Faiers, Sara Sampaio, Megan Fox, ampicillin plus sulbactam Charlize Theron, Justin Timberlake and Leonardo DiCaprio.
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Although it is not entirely clear what causes trichotillomania, it could be a way of dealing with high stress or anxiety for some sufferers.
It can also be related to some health conditions such as:
- A chemical imbalance in the brain, similar to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
- Changes in hormonal level during puberty.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
For some people, hair pulling can be a type of addiction. The more they pull their hair out, the more they want to keep doing it.
Signs and symptoms of Trichotillomania are pretty much the same from person to person.
According to the experts at FUE Clinics the symptoms often include:
- Repeatedly pulling hair out from scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes, but sometimes from other body areas. Sites may vary over time.
- An increased sense of tension before pulling or when trying 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 hair types, 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 on your lips or face.
- Repeatedly trying to stop pulling out your hair or trying to do it less often without success.
- Significant distress problems at work, school or in social situations related to pulling out your hair.
If hair pulling continues over a long period of time, the person suffering from the disorder could experience physical damage.
This could include a permanent loss of hair from the affected regions.
The NHS site recommends seeing your GP if you’re pulling your hair out or if you notice that your child is.
You should also see your GP if you or your child has a habit of eating hair. This can cause hairballs to form in the stomach, leading to serious illness.
Your GP may examine areas where the hair is missing to check that nothing else is causing the hair to come out, such as a skin infection.
If your GP thinks you have trich, you may be referred for a type of treatment called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), specifically habit reversal training.
The experts at FUE Clinics said: “The training aims to help you replace a bad habit with something that isn’t harmful.
“Treatment usually involves keeping a diary of your hair-pulling, working out the triggers for your hair pulling and learning how to avoid them and replacing hair pulling with another action – such as squeezing a stress ball.
“Loved ones providing emotional support and encouragement is often a part of the training.
“Antidepressants aren’t usually prescribed to treat Trichotillomania.”
If you want to try something other than CBT, the Clinic has collected some tips are from people who have suffered from Trichotillomania that may help you fight the urge to pull your hair.
- Squeeze a stress ball or something similar.
- Form a ball with your fists and tighten the muscles in that arm.
- Use a fidget toy.
- Wear a bandana or a tight-fitting hat, like a beanie.
- Come up with a saying that you repeat out loud until the urge passes.
- Take a soothing bath to ease stress or anxiety.
- Practise deep breathing until the urge to pull goes away.
- Put plasters on the tips of your fingers.
- Cut your hair short.
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