When it comes to mental health disorders, the most common one’s people know about are depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia. Despite those disorders being common, they are still misunderstood by those who have never experienced them. Trichotillomania is a surprisingly common disorder, but is a perplexing one that not well known.
What Is It?
Trichotillomania is classified as an impulse control disorder and is a repetitive behavior that is focused on the body. Those with this disorder are compelled, with varying intensities, to pull out their hair. The hair could be from the head, toes, hands, or anywhere else on the body. It is a chronic condition that is found more in females and it is estimated that one to two percent of adults and adolescents have Trichotillomania.
What Are the Causes?
Currently, there is no defined cause of Trichotillomania., but one theory is that there is a disruption in the messengers between nerve cells in the brain. Another cause could be a predisposition and aggravating stress and circumstances which could bring on the behavior. A stressful event could also trigger Trichotillomania., such as a death or family conflict. Onset usually starts between the ages of 9 and 13.
Treatments for Trichotillomania
There are currently two methods for treating Trichotillomania. that have been found effective. These two methods are medication and behavioral therapy. Best results occur when each treatment type is used in combination with the other. Treatment types include acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive therapy, and habit reversal training.
With cognitive therapy, people can learn to identify and examine what thoughts and beliefs they have in relation to hair pulling. With habit reversal training, the primary treatment for Trichotillomania., people learn to recognize when they are likely to pull their hair and can learn to do something else instead.
Trichotillomania can be an embarrassing disorder to have, especially if the hair pulling is focused on the head and face. While people may have tried to quit pulling or plucking hair on their own, they may feel helpless or depressed that they could not. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking the help of a doctor or therapist and Trichotillomania does not define you as a person.
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