Trichotillomania is also known as the hair-pulling disorder, it's a kind of mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.
Hair pulling from the scalp causes significant distress in one's life and can interfere with social or work functioning. For some people, trichotillomania may be mild and generally manageable. For others, the compulsive urge to pull hair is overwhelming. Some treatment options have helped many people reduce their hair pulling or stop completely.
Symptoms of trichotillomania often include:
1. Repeatedly pulling your hair out, typically from your scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes, but sometimes from other body areas, and sites may vary over time
2. An increasing sense of tension before pulling, or when you try to resist pulling
3. A sense of pleasure or relief after the hair is pulled
4. Noticeable hair loss, such as shortened hair or thinned or bald areas on the scalp or other areas of your body, including sparse or missing eyelashes or eyebrows
5. Preference for specific types of hair, rituals that accompany hair pulling or patterns of hair pulling
Biting, chewing or eating pulled-out hair
6. Playing with pulled-out hair or rubbing it across your lips or face
7. Repeatedly trying to stop pulling out your hair or trying to do it less often without success
8. Significant distress or problems at work, school or in social situations related to pulling out your hair
Trichotillomania is a long-term (chronic) disorder. Without treatment, symptoms can vary in severity over time. For example, the hormonal changes of menstruation can worsen symptoms in women. For some people, if not treated, symptoms can come and go for weeks, months or years at a time. Rarely, hair pulling ends within a few years of starting.
When to consult a mental health therapist:
If you can't stop pulling out your hair or you feel embarrassed or ashamed by your appearance as a result of your hair pulling, consult to your mental health therapist. Trichotillomania is not just a bad habit, it's a mental health disorder, and it's unlikely to get better without proper treatment.