What Is Trichotillomania And What Can Be Done About It?

Trichotillomania is a hair tugging, twisting and twirling habit where people can’t help pulling their hair out. The affected area mostly is the head. However, hair is also plucked from eyelashes, eyebrows and pubic area.  It’s a psychological disorder that ultimately leads to other outrageous pathological consequences such as persistent nail-biting, aggressive behavior and pulling one’s own hair. Psychologists and other experts in the field have conflicting views and opinions on Trichotillomania.  Some say it is an anxiety disorder while few tag it as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The root cause of this hair pulling habit seems blurry. However, many are of the notion that it could be a genetic disorder. Still, several others are implying that Trichotillomania is a learned behavior thereby disputing its genetic basis. The absolute danger of incessant hair pulling for patients of Trichotillomania is the addiction of plucking hair to such an extent that it leaves people with bald spots.

What Can Be Done About Hair Pulling?

There’s been quite a lot of hullabaloo around treatment options for this condition. However, either medical based treatments and psychological behaviour therapy or both are most widely taken into consideration. That goes for kids as well as adults. When it comes to finding a cure for Trichotillomania, before opting for an approach one needs to accept oneself completely on their road to recovery.  It isn’t easy at first. Having said that, ‘acceptance’ in no way whatsoever means a person has to like it or surrender to it. Talking of acceptance, it simply means acknowledging its existence and that ‘urge’ of hair pulling. Sometimes, an individual may find oneself giving in to those urges but on other days the willpower to ignore or dismiss it would be stronger. No two days are alike. However, by accepting the fact that you’re battling with Trichotillomania will make it easy for people to face it head-on.

Let It Out

Many may not consider this falling under the category of ‘treatment’ but there isn’t a specific mantra for Trichotillomania that works for all. So to begin with, reaching out to loved ones can be a great boost to a person’s self-confidence who is suffering from Trichotillomania. This also goes to show the resilience people possess within themselves. Battling any mental or emotional disorder isn’t a pleasant time for adults or kids.  There’s going to be tonnes of information that a person may get either from doctors, family friends or Google. But the best thing to do is, not look for short-cuts or miracles and try and work on one’s personality and behavior.

Go Easy On Yourself

Now that the journey to managing Trichotillomania has commenced, take one step at a time. On the route to curing this disorder chances are people will have to face their biggest fears and concerns.  As difficult as it may sound but, these very obstacles and their inability to deal with situations is the reason some folks end up with Trichotillomania. Therefore, it’s better to confront them rather than living with it for the rest of their lives. No one likes being miserable and Trichotillomania does exactly the same thing – making people feel like there’s no way out. But the good news is there is hope for individuals suffering from Trichotillomania.

Recognize Triggers

There will be days that would make someone engage in persistent hair-pulling. Or on random days it doesn’t necessarily have to be a stressful situation. By just not doing anything can also make a person want to pull their hair and get that soothing and warm feeling. Not many know this but a diet too could be a factor for a sudden relapse of Trichotillomania. Hence, taking healthy alternative always helps. Keep a journal and record everything that’s consumed. Pay special attention to foods that you’re allergic to.  Abstaining from processed food and drinks can help fasten recovery time. Also, note down events or feelings that makes one get into the hair-pulling zone. This is to know what triggers Trichotillomania and a person can then learn ways to manage their feelings and keep their nerves in check.

Seek Therapy

Sounds bizarre? No problem! There’s no taboo in going and seeing a shrink for Trichotillomania. Psychologists and counselors are adept at helping people with emotional problems. They, on many occasions help loners or people who shy away from reaching out to friends and acquaintances. A third person’s perspective is always essential and welcome especially if it happens to be a mental health professional. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Behaviour Substitution are generally administered for patients with Trichotillomania and it has done wonders to people’s overall personality.


In certain instances, medication like antidepressants that have serotonergic properties is prescribed to patients dealing with Trichotillomania.  These drugs do help some while many aren’t  receptive to these pills. On rare occasions, they come with side-effects and that in a way delays the treatment process which unfortunately hampers a person’s frame of mind.

Every person’s journey with Trichotillomania is different and no two people have the same kind of experiences, be it that urge to pull, a relapse or quick recovery. Managing and treating Trichotillomania takes time and it has to be dealt with complete and utter patience, self-compassion, and love for oneself and others.

*This is a guest post written by the lovely Ariel Taylor, who has her own blog called trichstop that I highly recommend you all visit.


7 thoughts on “What Is Trichotillomania And What Can Be Done About It?

  1. Knew a girl who had this condition when I was a child. This was many many years ago and I recall that the ‘treatment’ for it was that every adult would yell at her, or pull her hand away with a smack. Until reading this article I never knew this was a behavioral condition to be treated…I thought it was the behavior of this one child who must have suffered so. Thank you.

    1. Alas, the experience of this girl is an experience of many, even today. Trichotillomania is a disorder that even now, doesn’t have a vast amount of awareness. I’m glad this post has managed to help just that- raise awareness. Thank you for your comment. 😊

    1. Thank you for your comment and I’m very glad that this post was helpful! Trichotillomania is not very well known, hence why awareness is so important and vital.

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