Healthy Moms Dictionary – Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling Disorder)

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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. Pulling hair out of the scalp leaves patchy bald spots.

Hair is associated with beauty so trichotillomania can be very emotionally painful for people with the disorder.

Trichotillomania may be mild for some and usually manageable. The urge to pull hair for others can be overwhelming. Some treatment options have helped many people reduce their hair pulling or stop all together.

Help For Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a relatively new disorder and wasn’t recognized until the late 1980’s. However, help is available for people with the disorder.

How to Treat Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania can be treated in two different ways. It can be treated through Psychotherapy and medications. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has been proven to be an effective treatment for trichotillomania. This therapy teaches the patient how to be more aware of the hair pulling and learn how to reverse the habit. The psychologist will also point out what emotions and triggers are involved in hair pulling and how to substitute other behaviors instead.

Trichotillomania can also be treated with medications. Antidepressants are commonly used to treat the disorder, however, they are not effective unless combined with cognitive behavior therapy.

Tricotillomania and Autism

Trichotillomania is also an obsessive compulsive disorder and can be a common disorder among autistic children. More children are diagnosed with the hair pulling disorder than adults.

If you believe that you or your child has trichotillomania discuss your symptoms with your doctor right away.

More resources on Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania Prevention and Treatment
Hair Loss and it’s Causes
Trichotillomania Learning Center

Healthy Moms Dictionary – Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling Disorder)
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