Trichotillomania is a type of impulse control disorder that is sometimes known as “hair-pulling disorder.” Trichotillomania is a condition in which people have an uncontrollable urge to pull their hair out, mainly from their scalp, eyelashes, and eyebrows. They are aware that they have the ability to cause harm, yet they usually lack the ability to control their impulses. When they’re anxious, they may rip their hair out in an attempt to calm down.
Trichotillomania typically appears around adolescence, but it has also been observed in young children. It can last for several years, even until adulthood. It affects both boys and girls equally in childhood, but females are more likely to be affected by the disorder into adulthood. Trichotillomania is a condition that is frequently misdiagnosed. Those who are suffering from the symptoms might be ashamed or frightened to discuss their concerns with their doctor. Symptoms may afflict one individual for a few months, while another may experience them on and off for years.
Symptoms of Trichotillomania
Other signs and symptoms, in addition to hair pulling, include:
• Tension in the muscles before pulling hair or when resisting the temptation to pull hair
• Relieved, contented, or glad after acting on a hair-pulling impulse
• Distress or issues at work or in social situations as a result of hair pulling
• Hairless patches (from where the hair has been pulled)
• Examining the hair root, twisting the hair, dragging the hair between the teeth, chewing on hair, or eating hair.
• A liking for specific hair kinds or textures
If you have trichotillomania, you may also develop onychophagia (nail biting) or a skin picking condition. Other indicators include pulling fibers from blankets or hair from dolls
Causes of Trichotillomania
Trichotillomania has an unknown origin. Trichotillomania, like several other complex disorders, is likely caused by a mix of hereditary and environmental factors.
Risk factors of Trichotillomania include
• Age: Trichotillomania commonly begins in the early adolescent years, between the ages of 10 and 13. It can last through life even if symptoms come and go.
• Genes: The susceptibility to trichotillomania may be handed down in some families. If another family member has it, it’s more likely.
• Other mental illnesses: You may have other mental health issues if you have trichotillomania, such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
• Stress: Trichotillomania can be triggered by extreme stress in some persons. Situations such as familial conflict, abuse, or the death of a friend or family member can all cause stress.
Complications of Trichotillomania
• Trichotillomania can be quite distressing for those who suffer from it. Many report feelings of humiliation and embarrassment, as well as low self-esteem. Other issues that may arise include:
• Issues at work and in social situations People with this disorder may avoid social situations and friendships, as well as decline employment opportunities since they are ashamed of their pulling.
• Damage to the skin and hair. Constant tugging can produce scars on the scalp and have a long-term effect on hair development.
• Hairballs. Trichobezoars are huge matted hair clumps that occur in the gastrointestinal tract. They can lead to weight loss and obstructions over time.
Diagnosis of Trichotillomania
According to the DSM-5 criteria, someone diagnosed with trichotillomania must meet the following:
• Hair loss as a result of frequent pulling out of one’s hair.
• Attempts to reduce or eliminate hair pulling have been made numerous times.
• Pulling one’s hair creates clinically substantial distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other crucial areas of functioning.
• Hair loss that isn’t caused by another medical disease or hair pulling (e.g., a dermatological condition)
• The indications of another mental condition do not adequately explain hair pulling (e.g., attempts to improve a perceived defect or flaw in appearance in body dysmorphic disorder)
Treatment of Trichotillomania
Behavioral therapy: The benefits of habit reversal training (HRT) in treating TTM were demonstrated in a 2012 study by a trustworthy source. HRT operates on the following principles:
• raising people’s knowledge of TTM’s symptoms and triggers
• substituting a different activity for hair pulling
• figuring out how to stay motivated to stop hair pulling
• putting new abilities into practice in a variety of circumstances
Medications: These three medications might have a significant effect on trichotillomania: