What is Trichotillomania?

Put simply, trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder that gives you a strong urge to pull out the hairs on your body; this can include eyebrows, eyelashes, head hair, and even hair from the pubic area. The urge can be incredibly strong and some experts even believe it to be an addiction. People with trichotillomania may get a kick from pulling out their hairs, but will usually experience guilt and low self-esteem afterwards, too.

Trichotillomania does not discriminate! There are a number of high-profile celebrities who are believed to suffer from hair-pulling, including Megan Fox, Leonardo Di Caprio, and Katy Perry.

In the clip above from Body Fixers, Hannah shows us the effects of extreme trichotillomania on both her appearance, and her life. Watch episodes of Body Fixers here. Please keep in mind that some episodes may not be suitable for younger viewers.

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

Trichotillomania can be a distressing disorder, but there are ways to help the situation...

What's the cause of trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is an anxiety disorder, and people will usually pull their hairs out during times of more stress, as a way of relieving this anxiety. In some cases, it can be considered a form of self-harm as, much like cutting oneself, the pain of pulling out the hairs can release endorphins which can cause short-lived pleasure. The reasons can all differ from person to person - there is no set reason as to why somebody may develop trichotillomania.

Should I seek help?

There isn't really much medical research into trichotillomania, but psychotherapy can help some, as there is most likely an underlying issue that has caused this habit to materialise. Speaking to a psychotherapist will allow you to explore any deep-seeded emotional problems or mental health issues. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) in particular, has been shown to help people with trichotillomania.

How can I cope with it?

Keep track of what types of situations tend to trigger the urge to pull - doing this will assist you in finding other ways of coping. How does the process of pulling make you feel? Does it feel great for a few seconds, and then terrible soon after? Being very aware of the negative results will help to remind you that it's not worth it, next time the urge creeps in. As trichotillomania tends to be a nervous condition, finding something else to fiddle with when your hands make their way to your hair, can also help. How about giving a fidget cube a go? Other great ways of channeling your energy can be through drawing, sewing, cleaning, playing games, and exercising. You could also even try wearing gloves to discourage pulling, until the urge fades away.

Avoiding the triggers

It might not be easy to avoid everything that triggers your trichotillomania, but you might be able to reduce the triggers. Reflect on what in life stresses you out the most and causes you to pull; is there a way to resolve these issues?

Useful links

Check out these websites for more information and support on Trichotillomania:

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