Overview Of Trichotillomania
Trichotillomania is hair loss from repeated urges to pull or twist the hair until it breaks off. People are unable to stop this behavior, even as their hair becomes thinner.
Commonly Associated With
Trichotillosis; Compulsive hair pulling
Causes Of Trichotillomania
Trichotillomania is a type of impulsive control disorder. Its causes are not clearly understood.
It may affect as much as 4% of the population. Women are 4 times more likely to be affected than men.
Symptoms Of Trichotillomania
Symptoms most often begin before age 17. The hair may come out in round patches or across the scalp. The effect is an uneven appearance. The person may pluck other hairy areas, such as the eyebrows, eyelashes, or body hair.
These symptoms are most often seen in children:
- An uneven appearance to the hair
- Bare patches or all around (diffuse) loss of hair
- Bowel blockage (obstruction) if people eat the hair they pull out
- Constant tugging, pulling, or twisting of hair
- Denying the hair pulling
- Hair regrowth that feels like stubble in the bare spots
- An increasing sense of tension before the hair pulling
- Other self-injury behaviors
- Sense of relief, pleasure, or gratification after the hair pulling
Most people with trichotillomania also have problems with:
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Poor self-image
Exams & Tests
Your health care provider will examine your skin, hair, and scalp. A piece of tissue may be removed (biopsy) to find other causes, such as a scalp infection, and to explain the hair loss.
Treatment Of Trichotillomania
Experts don’t agree on the use of medicine for treatment. However, naltrexone and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been shown to be effective in reducing some symptoms. Behavioral therapy and habit reversal may also be effective.
People can have complications when they eat pulled-out hair (trichophagia). This can cause a blockage in the intestines or lead to poor nutrition.