Trichotillomania, also known as hair pulling disorder, is when someone can’t resist the urge to pull out their hair. They may pull out the hair on their head or in other places, such as their eyebrows or eyelashes.
Trichotillomania is more common in teenagers and young adults, and tends to affect girls more often than boys. Trichotillomania (TTM) is a mental disorder in which people feel an overwhelming need to pull out their own hair. Research suggests that 0.5 to 2 percent Trusted Source of people have TTM.
People with trichotillomania feel an intense urge to pull their hair out and they experience growing tension until they do. After pulling their hair out, they feel a sense of relief.
A person may sometimes pull their hair out in response to a stressful situation, or it may be done without really thinking about it.
Most people with trichotillomania pull out hair from their scalp, but some pull out hair from other areas, such as their: Eyebrows, eyelashes, genital area and beard or moustache
Bald patches left on the head tend to have an unusual shape and may affect one side more than the other.
Trichotillomania may cause feelings of shame and low self-esteem. Those affected may try to keep their condition to themselves.
It’s not entirely clear what causes trichotillomania. It could be:
changes in hormone levels during puberty
Infection, skin damage and permanent hair loss are possible complications of trichotillomania. The hair loss and skin damage can lead to problems with self-esteem and body image, and can have a negative impact on work and relationships. In extreme cases, some people might avoid social situations in order to hide the resulting hair loss.
People who engage in trichophagia (eating hair) are at risk for forming trichobezoars, or balls of hair, in the stomach or small intestines. Trichobezoars can lead to pain, nausea and vomiting, bleeding, blockages, and other serious gastrointestinal problems.
To diagnose trichotillomania, Dr. Civas will talk to you about your medical history, as well as symptoms you may be experiencing. He will likely use the criteria in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to see if your symptoms match up.
According to the research, someone diagnosed with trichotillomania must meet the following:
Types of therapy that may be helpful for trichotillomania include:
The doctor will likely ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to reserve time to go over any points you want to focus on.