Have you ever heard of Trichotillomania?
Let me rephrase that, have you heard of people pulling out their own hair?
Well, Trichotillomania or Trich is a hair-pulling disorder.
Trich is a hair-pulling disorder, where someone can’t resist the urge to pull out their hair.
This can be the hair on their head, eyebrows, legs, eyelashes, beard … even their public hair.
A Feeling Of Tension
When someone with trich gets the urge to pull out their hair the tension will continue to grow and grow. Once they do pull their hair out they feel a sense of relief.
Sometimes they might pull their hair out without even thinking about it but other times it can be caused by anxiety and stressful situations.
Most people with trich pull out hair from their scalp, but some people pull from other places.
Trichotillomania can cause bald patches which can cause low self-esteem. This may mean that people hide their trich from others and will only go out if they are wearing a hat or something else that covers the patches and evidence of hair pulling.
Why Do It?
No one knows exactly what causes trich but it could be because of stress and anxiety. People with OCD are more likely to develop trich and it could also be hereditary.
Sometimes trich becomes a habit so even if you’re not stressed you may do it without realising.
Like any habit or compulsion the longer you do it the harder it is to break the cycle.
What Can I Do To Stop?
To stop pulling your hair out you can try redirection techniques which are similar to trying to redirect a dangerous stim. You can keep a diary of when you get the urge and try to pinpoint why. You can then try to redirect to something like a stress ball or fidget toy. Sometimes pulling out your hair can cause infections and scabs.
If you are struggling to stop then you can see a GP who will be able to refer you to a therapist who can help.
If you eat your hair after pulling it out this can be dangerous.
You can also find support online. BFRB.org (Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours) has a peer-led support group.
You can find a link to some fidget toys that may help here