Anxiety and stress affect us all in different ways. Trichotillomania is characterized by an intense desire to pull off one’s own hair. Pulling hair out repeatedly over time might result in bald areas and even greater emotional distress.
What is Trichotillomania?
Trichotillomania is a form of impulse control disorder that is sometimes known as “hair-pulling disorder.” Hair loss occurs because of repeated cravings to tug or twist their hair until it snaps. Even though their hair thins, individuals are unable to quit this tendency.
Trichotillomania is a condition in which people have an uncontrollable need to pull their hair out, from the scalp, eyelashes, and eyebrows. They are aware that they have the ability to cause harm, yet they frequently lack the ability to control their impulses. When they are anxious, they may rip their hair out in an attempt to calm down.
Many persons with trichotillomania focus on pulling out hair from their scalp as children, concentrating on just one or two regions; however, people with TTM do not always limit hair pulling to the scalp. They may pull hair from other places on their body, such as their brows, eyelashes, or any other hairy area. This might result in bald areas and hair thinning over time.
Trichotillomania normally appears during adolescence; however, it has also been observed in young children. It can last for several years, even until adulthood once it begins. It affects both boys and females equally in childhood, but females are more likely to be affected in maturity.
Symptoms usually appear before the age of 17. Hair might emerge in circular spots or all over the scalp. The result is a skewed appearance. Other hairy places, such as the brows, eyelashes, or body hair, may be plucked.
These are the most common symptoms in children:
- Hair that has an uneven look
- Hair loss in patches or all over (diffuse)
- If people consume the hair they take out, it might cause bowel obstruction (blockage).
- Denying the hair pulling Constant tugging, pulling, or twisting of hair
- Hair sprouting in bare places that feel like stubble
- Before tugging your hair, increase your sense of tension.
- Other forms of self-harm
- After hair pulling, a feeling of relief, joy, or gratification
Many people with this disease experience issues with:
- If you are sad or depressed, it is time to get professional help.
- Self-esteem issues
Those who suffer from trichotillomania may develop side symptoms such as itching or tingling where their hair was pulled, as well as bald spots, Irritations on the skin because of thinning hair, and social phobia.
What is the cause of Trichotillomania?
The exact cause of trichotillomania is unknown. It is possible that it is caused by a genetic mutation. Environmental variables could also be a factor.
The typical age for the symptoms to show is between 10 and 13 years old, according to a 2016 study. Pulling out the hairs on the scalp is the most common symptom, and it makes the person feel less anxious or tense.
Many people are completely unaware that they are pulling their hair. When they realize, they are ripping out their hair, they may become even more anxious and embarrassed. This results in a loop of anxiety, hair pulling, and temporary respite, followed by anxiety, shame, and hair-pulling once more.
Trichotillomania is a mental health disease that can be linked to other issues like:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of obsessive-compulsive (OCD)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects children with autism (ADHD)
Trichotillomania does not affect everyone who has these symptoms. Symptoms can appear for a variety of reasons, including:
- Savoring the sensation of thick hair on their fingers
- Savoring the sensation of removing hair from one’s head
- Anxiety, boredom, wrath, embarrassment, or stress are examples of negative emotions.
Trichotillomania can be exacerbated by a few factors, including:
- Age: Trichotillomania commonly begins in the early adolescent years, between the ages of 10 and 13. It can endure a lifetime, even if symptoms come and go.
- Genes: The susceptibility to trichotillomania may be handed down in some families. If another family member has it, it is more likely.
- Stress: Trichotillomania can be triggered by extreme stress in certain persons. Situations such as familial conflict, abuse, or the death of a friend or family member can all cause stress.
- Other types of mental illnesses You may have other mental health issues if you have trichotillomania, such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
What are the elements that put you at risk?
Trichotillomania can affect people of various ages, including children, adolescents, and adults. It is, however, more common in women than in men, with a 9 to 1 ratio.
The following are some of the risk factors for developing trichotillomania:
- having a mental illness such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or depression
- being a female adolescent dealing with a tough scenario
This condition is likely to be underreported.
Diagnosis of Trichotillomania
The signs of trichotillomania are used to get a diagnosis. It does not have a specific test.
A doctor may recommend someone with trichotillomania symptoms to a psychiatrist or psychologist, who will conduct an interview and determine whether the person has an impulse control condition.
Treatment for Trichotillomania and Home Remedies
People with trichotillomania can benefit from a variety of therapies, which can even help them quit pulling their hair.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on You will be able to practice tolerating the urges to pull your hair without really pulling your hair.
- Habit reversal is a term used to describe the process of changing one’s Trichotillomania is frequently treated with this method. It will assist you in forming an alternative, less destructive habits, such as clenching your fists when you feel the want to pull your hair.
- Cognitive therapy- This allows people to explore and change the ideas that cause them to pull their hair out.
Although there are no FDA-approved medications for trichotillomania, these medications may help some people manage their symptoms:
- Atypical antipsychotics
- N-acetylcysteine, an amino acid supplement
A doctor will ask about your medical history as well as any symptoms you could be experiencing to diagnose trichotillomania. To see if your symptoms fit the criteria in the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), they will most likely utilize the criteria in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
A person diagnosed with trichotillomania must match the following criteria, according to the DSM-5:
- Plucking out one’s hair on a regular basis results in hair loss.
- Attempts to reduce or stop hair pulling on a regular basis.
- Hair pulling or hair loss that is not due to any medical illness produces clinically substantial distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other crucial areas of functioning (e.g., a dermatological condition).
- The symptoms of another mental condition are not better described by hair pulling (e.g., attempts to improve a perceived defect or flaw in appearance in body dysmorphic disorder).
- Other reasons for hair loss will be ruled out, and you may be referred to a dermatologist (skin doctor).
Is there anything that could go wrong? – Complications.
Trichotillomania can result in scarring and permanent hair loss. People who continue to pull their hair out until adulthood are more likely to develop this condition.
Trichophagia is a condition in which persons with trichotillomania consume their own hair. This can cause hair to build up in the digestive tract, which can lead to a hazardous obstruction.
What is the prognosis for trichotillomania sufferers?
Trichotillomania is a condition that is frequently misdiagnosed. Those who are suffering symptoms may be embarrassed or frightened to discuss their concerns with their doctor. Symptoms may afflict one individual for a few months, while another may experience them on and off for years. Hair pulling desires may occur frequently for a few months before disappearing totally for a short time, according to many people.
Prevention of Trichotillomania
Although there is no known method to avoid trichotillomania, seeking therapy as soon as symptoms appear can be extremely beneficial. Hair-pulling behavior is commonly triggered by stress, thus learning stress management is a smart idea.
How do you tell a friend you have trichotillomania?
It might be difficult to know what to say if you suspect a friend or loved one is suffering from trichotillomania symptoms. Here are some suggestions:
“Why don’t you just quit pulling your hair?” is a phrase to avoid. Every day, your loved one is most certainly asking oneself the same question. Saying something like this could exacerbate their guilt and embarrassment.
“Just find a different technique to handle stress.” They have attempted this a hundred times before. Instead, talk to your loved ones about their emotions and how you can best help them.
Instead, say, “How can I assist?” You can show that you care by assisting them in finding an expert healthcare provider, locating local support groups, or simply listening.
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