Trichotillomania, or the need to pull out hair. Where does this disorder come from and how to treat it?

2 January 2024
Woman pulling out her hair due to trichotillomania Source: VistaCreate

Trichotillomania, also known as hair pulling disorder, is a serious health challenge that can significantly affect daily functioning and well-being. What are the causes and mechanism of this affliction? Where to look for support in combating the problem? We will try to answer these and other questions in the article.

Causes of trichotillomania

The first aspect worth exploring is the causes of trichotillomania. Research indicates that there are a number of factors, both genetic and environmental, that can promote the development of this disorder. Heredity, stress, emotional traumas and psychological problems are just some of the elements that can influence the tendency to pull out hair.

It is worth noting that trichotillomania is often a coping mechanism for emotional difficulties. Those affected by the disorder may view hair pulling as a way to relieve themselves of stress, anxiety or distress. Therefore, analyzing the causes of trichotillomania requires looking at both biological and psychosocial aspects.

Mechanism of action of trichotillomania

Another key issue is the mechanism of trichotillomania itself. The disorder usually manifests itself through impulsive pulling of hair from different areas of the body, most often from the head, eyebrows or eyelashes. It is worth looking at this process in more detail, to understand why people with trichotillomania experience difficulty controlling this impulse.

Psychological analysis can explain why hair pulling becomes a form of relief or temporary relief of emotional tension. Learning about the mechanism of trichotillomania is crucial not only for those struggling with the disorder, but also for treatment and therapy professionals.

Characteristic symptoms of trichotillomania

  1. Excessive hair pulling: the first and most visible symptom is the habitual and excessive pulling of hair from various areas of the body, especially from hair-covered areas such as the head, eyebrows and eyelashes.
  2. Attempts to hide the effects of hair pulling: people affected by trichotillomania often make efforts to hide the results of their habit. They may use hairstyles or makeup to cover up visible areas, which is one of the characteristic behaviors associated with the disorder.
  3. Failed impulse control: people with trichotillomania experience difficulty controlling the impulse to pull out their hair. The habit often becomes a stress coping mechanism, making it difficult to break the cycle.
  4. Bald areas on the skin: regular hair pulling leads to areas of bare skin, which can be one of the first physical signs of trichotillomania.

Differences between trichotillomania and natural hair loss

It is important to understand that trichotillomania is different from natural hair loss. In trichotillomania, hair loss is the result of deliberate and habitual action, while in natural hair loss the process usually has other causes, such as genetic factors.

Daily functioning of people with trichotillomania

  1. Reduced self-esteem: pulling out hair can lead to a significant reduction in self-esteem, especially when the effects of the habit become apparent to those around them. People with trichotillomania often struggle with feelings of shame and social isolation.
  2. Stress and Emotional Tension: the very act of pulling your hair out can be a way to cope with stress and emotional tension, but at the same time it is a source of additional stress from having to hide this habit.
  3. Mood and anxiety disorders: trichotillomania can affect overall mental health, leading to mood disorders such as depression and increased levels of anxiety.

Understanding the impact of trichotillomania on mental health is crucial for informed management of the disorder. Professional therapeutic help and support from loved ones can play an important role in the treatment process.

Therapy and support for people with trichotillomania

Successful management of trichotillomania requires a balanced approach, combining therapy and support from loved ones. Fortunately, people struggling with this disorder have a relatively large number of options for getting help and attempting to combat this affliction. The following are examples of therapy that can be particularly helpful when it comes to combating this disorder.

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is one of the most widely used therapeutic approaches for treating trichotillomania. It helps identify and change harmful thoughts and behaviors associated with the habit of pulling out hair.
  2. Positive psychotherapy: focuses on building positive habits and strengthening stress management skills. It also helps to develop a positive view of oneself.
  3. Group therapy: participation in therapy groups for people with trichotillomania can provide emotional support, as well as allow for the exchange of experiences and coping strategies.

It is worth noting that the earlier trichotillomania is recognized, the more effective therapeutic intervention can be. Therapy and social support are a key part of the treatment process, helping people struggling with this disorder regain control of their lives.

Karol Popko

Karol Popko is an experienced author whose pen has been shining in the lifestyle world for many years. With his copywriting practice and insight into trends, he not only shares practical tips, but also opens up a deeper understanding of these topics to his readers. According to Karol, beauty can be found everywhere, and life is worth celebrating with passion and style.


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