You might be having the urge to constantly pull your hair. You may even be ashamed of it but you cannot control it. The reason you are doing so is because you may have Trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is an impulse disorder in which a person is feeling a constant urge, which one may not be able to resist, to pull their hair. Impulse control disorders are conditions in which you have strong, uncontrollable urges to take part in self-destructive behavior. Some examples of impulse control disorders are Pyromania and Kleptomania. Pyromania is the urge to set fires and Kleptomania is the urge to steal. The real reason behind Trichotillomania is not been understood or found, however researchers believe that it is caused due to chemical imbalances in the brain. Trichotillomania may also be a genetic condition because it runs in families.
Symptoms of Trichotillomania
Everyone doesn’t have the same symptoms of Trichotillomania. Some pull their hair strand by strand while others may pull large clumps of it. Some people may do this consciously and are getting a good feeling while pulling their hair off, while some may be pulling their hair unconsciously without even realizing it. After pulling the strand some may inspect it or even swallow it. The symptoms usually are:
- Pulling hair causing hair loss in patches
- Satisfactory feeling when pulling the hair
- Shame and even denying what they are doing
- Experiencing relief when the hair is pulled
- Playing with pulled hair
- Rubbing the pulled hair on lips
How common is Trichotillomania?
Trichotillomania is a pretty rare condition in which only about 1 percent of the population may have it. This condition is usually found in females outnumbering males in a ratio of 3 to 1. There is a problem in finding the frequency of the people who have Trichotillomania. This is because people tend to deny that they have the disorder and do not seek help from professionals. Trichotillomania usually begins around the age of 11 to 13 however, there is a possibility that children of age 1 to 2 also have Trichotillomania and pull their hair.
Coping with Trichotillomania
If you feel that you or someone you know suffers hair loss because of Trichotillomania then it would be advisable to visit a professional team of Hair experts. The hair exerts can give you tips for controlling Trichotillomania before it is too late. People will need help from professionals for controlling their hair pulling impulses. Common treatment for Trichotillomania includes:
MEDICATIONS: If treatment of Trichotillomania is not needed then the hair expert can prescribe medications such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help people to control their hair pulling urges.
COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOUR THERAPY: In this therapy the hair expert will teach you how to manage your hair pulling urges and how to recognize them so that you are not pulling your hair unconsciously. The hair expert will teach you how specific situations cause hair pulling urges and how to control them or modify the situation and stop hair loss caused by it.
BEHAVIOURAL MODIFICATION: The hair expert recommends you to occupy yourself when you feel the urge to pull your hair. You could squeeze a stress ball or do activities like knitting, reading, cooking etc.
Controlling Trichotillomania can be tough, but working with the hair expert and to manage your condition, joining support groups made up of other people who have a similar situation as you can help you overcome Trichotillomania.