How Anxiety Can Cause Trichotillomania

trichotillomania

Hair loss can be distressing, no matter what causes it. We often link how our hair looks to self-worth and self-image, so losing control of our own hair can leave us feeling very down. But when your hair loss is a direct result of your state of mind, how do you cope? We look at the links between anxiety and the unusual condition, trichotillomania.

What is Trichotillomania?

Trich is a well-documented but not fully understood condition. It’s the urge to pull hair, or play with it compulsively, often to the point that it falls out or is tugged directly from the follicle. Up to 2% of the population experiences this urge.

Many trichotillomania sufferers pull hair from different places on their bodies, including painful areas like the face. Some people aren’t even aware they’re doing it until someone points it out to them. Long-term trichotillomania may present like alopecia, with the individual constantly experiencing patchy bald spots due to incessant hair tugging.

Links Between Trichotillomania and Anxiety

Both anxiety and trichotillomania are mental health conditions, and it’s possible that one may trigger the other. Around 32% of people with trichotillomania are already diagnosed with anxiety. Feelings of anxiety can be difficult to deal with. Many trichotillomania sufferers state that pulling their hair helps alleviate feelings of stress, leading to a sense of relief. Unfortunately, the results of hair pulling, such as hair loss or feeling like the behavior is socially unacceptable, can exacerbate anxiety. This leads to a spiral effect that can be difficult to disengage from.

Treating Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania may be underdiagnosed due to people feeling embarrassed or underestimating the impact it has on their lives. However, if you do speak with your doctor or a hair loss professional, you may be surprised to find that there are treatment options available.

Because the root of trichotillomania is sometimes existing anxiety, it’s important to look after your mental health and get the right treatment for any issues. You may also be referred for a form of therapy called habit reversal, which aims to identify the triggers that cause the hair pulling response and replace that response with something more positive or constructive. Wigs and hairpieces can be a great support for anyone going through treatment for hair pulling or hair loss.

If you know someone who pulls their hair, don’t laugh at them or make them feel ashamed. Encourage them to talk to a specialist who can give them the right support. If you suffer from trichotillomania or any form of hair loss, contact Custom Hair today and find out how we can help. To find a location near you click here.

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Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5328413/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358939/