Coping With Trichotillomania

The Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Options for Hair Pulling

Trichotillomania occurs when people repetitively pull their hair out. Find out how to cope with this distressing condition.

Trichotillomania is a condition where sufferers feel compelled to pull their hair out from the root. Often, they target the hair on their head, but they may also tug out hair from their eyebrows, lashes or beard as well as anywhere else on the body. Trichotillomania is more commonly known as trich and is sometimes described as being an obsessive compulsive disorder, although arguably it would be better categorised as a body-focused repetitive disorder. If any of this sounds familiar to what you might be experiencing, or else you’re concerned about a loved one who appears to be displaying some of the tell-tale signs of trich, support is available to help with this difficult condition.

Who Is Most Likely To Experience Trichotillomania?

Trich can strike any person at any stage in their life, but the NHS reveals that young people are most likely to be affected by trichotillomania with girls impacted more than boys.

Why Do People Feel Compelled To Pull Their Hair Out?

Strong emotions including stress, anxiety or anger may cause a person to begin pulling their hair out, often motivated by a way to release some pent-up tension in order to gain a sense of relief. Some people with trich are aware that they do this, whereas others may do it entirely unconsciously as a response to a stressful situation. When people with trichotillomania are aware of what they’re doing, either during a hair-pulling episode or after noticing the thinning of their hair in certain areas, they may develop low self-esteem due to their changing physical appearance.

Where Should You Turn For Help?  

If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of these signs, then the first step should be to make an appointment with your GP to discuss treatment options. Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT is an incredibly effective talking therapy which aims to change your thought patterns and respond to stress and other difficult emotions or situations in a more positive manner. CBT can be used to reverse your hair pulling habit by keeping a diary of your activities, to note your triggers so you can learn how to avoid them. You may then use this information to develop a coping strategy for your trich condition, whereby you would replace your hair pulling with another stress release technique such as using a fidget toy. You might also try to put plasters on your fingertips or practice deep breathing to help buy you some time and give you a chance to think about changing your behaviour.

How To Cope With Your Changing Physical Appearance

One of the problems with trich, is that your changing appearance can be one of the things that makes you feel most stressed and want to pull your hair out. If you are concerned about your thinning hair and want to regain your former physical appearance, then you might choose to opt for solutions including hair toppers to cover your specific bald patches, real hair wigs for your entire head, or else a combination of hats and scarves which can look incredibly stylish too.

Trichotillomania can be a distressing condition, both for the person involved as well as their close ones which is why it’s so important to have a strong support network around you. Confide in your friends and family, visit your GP and you can also get in touch with the Trichotillomania charity who have an extensive range of resources and forum members to connect with.