What is Trichotillomania?

What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a chronic mental health condition fixated on pulling out one’s hair. It is estimated to affect 200,000 people every year in the United States alone. It disproportionately affects adolescent females, but can affect anyone of any age or gender.

People affected by trichotillomania find it very difficult to control the impulse of hair pulling, most commonly from the scalp, eyelashes, or eyebrows. They have most likely made repeated attempts to stop the behavior on their own, but have been unsuccessful. It is very important for anyone suffering with this condition to seek professional help and counseling.

What are the Symptoms of Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is considered a largely self-diagnosable disorder, since the symptoms tend to be easily recognizable. When other dermatologic, medical, or mental health conditions do not account for an individual’s hair loss in Palo Alto, it’s important to have the individual assessed by a mental health professional to determine whether trichotillomania could be the underlying cause.

Symptoms include:

  1. Noticeable hair loss.
  2. A sense of tension which is released when pulling out one’s own tresses.
  3. Impaired functioning in other areas of life, including difficulty in social situations or at work. Individuals may experience embarrassment that drives them away from public situations.
  4. Often, rituals are associated with the behavior, such as looking for particular types of strands to pull, pulling it in a very specific manner, or biting or eating the hair.

What Causes Trichotillomania?

While there is no specific known cause of this mental health condition, it is often seen in conjunction with other related illnesses, such as obsessive compulsive disorder or depression. It also does seem to run in families, which suggests that there may be a genetic component. Sometimes, it seems to be triggered or exacerbated by stress or trauma, such as a divorce, death in the family, or abuse. It often surfaces in early adolescence.

While we might not always know what causes it, researchers have found the results of trichotillomania in the lives of people suffering from it. One of the most debilitating outcomes seems to be the shame and embarrassment involved, which is often made worse by the struggles adolescents have with self-esteem and bullying. The disorder sometimes leads people to avoid close relationships and intimacy later in life due to fears of their disorder being discovered.

How is Trichotillomania Treated?

Like other behavioral disorders, trichotillomania is generally treated with psychotherapy and medications. These two methods are usually used together, since medications only generally help while they are taken, and the behaviors return once the medication is stopped. With therapy, however, people can often find true remission and relief from the debilitating shame caused by the disorder.

Disclaimer: We are unable to guarantee any result, even though most of our patients do see success. The results of our services will vary greatly to each patient’s level of commitment and compliance with the program.

KW: hair loss Palo Alto


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