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What is Trichotillomania? A Closer Look at Hair-Pulling Disorder. Common Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Written By Emily Wyant 14 Jul 2021
What is Trichotillomania? A Closer Look at Hair-Pulling Disorder. Common Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Trichotillomania tends to take a toll on your mental health without you being aware of it. There is a possibility that someone around you might be suffering from Trichotillomania; all you need to do is pay attention to it.

 

Not everyone asks for help, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it. To help others, you must understand what Trichotillomania is and how to spot it.

 

Bond Hair Bar has listed the various symptoms, causes, and treatments of Trichotillomania. Before that, it is essential to understand what it is in simple terms.

 

Trichotillomania: What is it?

 

Trichotillomania is a type of impulse control disorder that’s usually called a hair-pulling disorder. People who suffer from it suffer from an irresistible desire to pull hair out of their body areas like the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and more.

 

A person with Trichotillomania is conscious of its outcome and knows that it can cause them damage if they act impulsively. However, they still cannot stop doing it.

 

Trichotillomania usually results in noticeable bald patches on your scalp that lead to low self-esteem and confidence. People with Trichotillomania pull out their hair when they are under stress or anxious to relax.

 

They may also go to great lengths to hide the loss of hair. It can be mild and manageable for some or could exist for years for others.

 

Trichotillomania: What are the symptoms?

 

If you closely observe someone, you can figure out whether they are suffering from Trichotillomania or not. It could be because of genetics or other issues too.

 

Some of the symptoms are:

 

  • Pulling out hair continuously from areas like eyelashes, eyebrows, or the scalp
  • Sense of tension while trying to resist the urge of pulling hair
  • Deriving a sense of satisfaction after pulling out the hair
  • Visible loss of hair and patches on the scalp
  • Shortened of thinned hair
  • A particular pattern or habit of hair pulling
  • Rubbing the pulled-out hair on the face or lips
  • Unable to resist the urge of pulling
  • Notable issues in social situations like school or work because of the compulsive disorder of pulling hair

 

Trichotillomania: What are the causes?

 

The causes of Trichotillomania are not that clear. It could arise from either genetic or environmental or both reasons. The causes have been listed below:

 

  • Family history- Genetics play a significant role in the development of trichotillomania. The disorder may show up in those who have a close relative with the disorder.
  • Age factor- Trichotillomania typically develops just before or during the early teens, most often between 10 and 13 years. It’s usually a problem that stays for life. Infants can also be prone to hair pulling, but this tends to be mild and goes away without any treatment.
  • Any other disorder- People who have trichotillomania may also suffer from other disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or OCD.
  • Stress- There are situations when people are so stressed that it triggers trichotillomania in them.

 

How does trichotillomania affect your life?

 

You might not realize it, but trichotillomania can severely impact your life.

 

Some complications might include:

 

  • Emotional agony- Many people with trichotillomania have reported feeling shame, humiliation as well as embarrassment. They may experience depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and alcohol or street drug use because of their condition.
  • Social life issues- People with trichotillomania usually wear wigs, style their hair to hide bald patches, or wear false eyelashes. Some people may avoid intimacy because of the fear that their condition might come to light.
  • Hair and skin damage- Trichotillomania causes various damages and infections to the skin on the scalp. It could also result in a particular area where hair is pulled and can permanently affect hair growth.

 

Trichotillomania: Treatment at Bond Hair Bar

There are many options for trichotillomania, but it doesn’t mean everything and anything will work for you. Emily at Bond Hair Bar, suggests habit reforming counseling (link to YouTube: Counsellor interview) which we have contacts for, while wearing a hair replacement system that’s customized just for you. We do not have to shave your hair, it grows underneath your hair system. The beauty of this treatment is that you wont be able to pull your hair in the process. Thus giving you time under your belt to be pull-free. This is something which has worked for our patients, just see their success stories about Trichotillomania interview on our Youtube Channel.

 

Bond Hair Bar has listed several treatment options for you:

 

  • Therapy

 

The types of therapy that you can consider are:

 

  1. Habit reversal therapy is the primary treatment for trichotillomania. You can learn how to recognize situations where you’re likely to pull your hair and how to substitute other behaviors instead of that. For example, you might clench your fists to help you to stop the urge or redirect your hand from your hair to your ear.
  2. Cognitive therapy can help you identify and see the beliefs you may have about hair pulling.
  3. Commitment therapy will help you accept this habit and then act on the urge differently.

 

  • Hair extensions and Non – Surgical Hair Replacements

 

Hair Extensions are one of the best things that you can opt for if you have trichotillomania. Hair extensions have several varieties that you can choose from at your convenience.

 

Some of the options of hair extensions are:

 

  1. Clip-in hair extensions- You need to clip the hair extension to your natural hair that will take only 5-15 minutes to apply. The benefit of hair extension of this type is that it’s the least permanent and damaging.
  2. Braid and Sew hair extensions are braided around your areas of concern and hair is sewn on top of your braided natural hair. You wont be able to pull your natural hairs with this hair extension method.
  3. Hair Replacement Systems are customized to each client’s head. We make a mold and have the hair customized to the mold in Italy. We then, use a safe medical graded adhesive to adhere to your hair and scalp. You will not able to pull your natural hairs with our cutsotmized hair replacement systems. You will be able to swim, sweat and shower care free, while living a lifestyle you deserve

 

We hope that the symptoms, causes, and treatment options will be clear to you by now. Make an appointment with Bond Hair Bar to discuss the options of hair extensions as a treatment for trichotillomania.

 

I’ve been struggling with trichtillomania since I was a teenager. I started pulling my hair around the age of 13. Before that, I would play with my thick curly hair constantly, twirling and twisting it around my fingers.

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Then it gradually progressed to running my hands through my hair like a comb and gently pulling the hairs out. First the hairs on my head, then my eyebrows and eyelashes. I had sparse, patchy eyebrows that I had to fill in with a makeup pencil.

Now whenever I feel stressed, anxious, or bored, I pull. It happens when I’m reading, writing, watching tv or just scrolling through my phone. Sometimes I don’t even notice that I’m doing it, that’s how much of a compulsive habit it’s become. When I do finally notice, it’s incredibly hard to make myself stop. Just a few more hairs, I tell myself, which inevitably turns into a handful. Then I look down at how much I’ve pulled and feel really awful about myself. It was a vicious cycle. The more I pulled, the worse I felt, and the worse I felt, the more I’d pull.

I went through periods of low-grade depression. The thick curly hair I’d had as a child was slowly getting thinner and thinner. You could see the white of my scalp, especially along the front and sides. The thinness was diffuse all over my head, not just in one spot. And so I had to come up with creative ways to style my hair to hide how thin it had become. Tinted dry shampoo and root concealer became part of my daily routine. Vitamins and supplements like biotin were added to my diet, but they did little to help the hair grow back when I just kept pulling and pulling.

I couldn’t make myself stop. I resorted to all sorts of tricks to prevent myself from pulling. I would wear tight beanies and hats in the house, or wrap a towel around my head. I would sit on my hands, play with putty to keep them occupied, wear thick mittens, or take a hot shower when the urge to pull struck. Finally I just cut off all my hair. I would get super short pixie cuts where the hair would be too short to pull. But it would eventually grow back, so I’d need to get it trimmed often. I dreamed of what it would be like to have long hair again.

One day I came across the term trichtillomania and I finally understood this was a compulsive condition that others also struggled with. The only person who knew about my pulling was my mother. Everyone else in my life was in the dark. I was too embarrassed to tell them or talk about it. So when I discovered there was a name for what I had, a little of the shame I felt was lifted. Now I could see that I was not alone, that others experienced the same frustrations and insecurities as me. Best of all, they shared what they’d done to treat their compulsion.

While researching trichtillomania, I came across a website for a salon called Bond Hair Bond that specialized in hair options for those struggling with this disorder. There were stories of women who had struggled for years until they discovered extensions that could give the appearance of fuller hair, while giving their natural hair time to regrow and heal. Most important, it gave them the confidence to reengage with life again.

The website was super easy to navigate and had lots of information about the different options. When I called, I was immediately connected with the owner, Emily. She was incredibly knowledgeable about trichtillomania, which made me feel better about going in for a consultation, The salon was located an hour and a half drive from my home, but there were no other salons in the area that specialized in helping people with my condition.

My consultation with Emily was very informative. She carefully examined my hair and asked thoughtful questions to better understand my experience with trich and the qualities I was looking for in my dream hair. She showed me a video series she was creating to tell the stories of young women who had struggled with trich and found hope with hair extensions on her YouTube channel, @bondhairbar. We made a plan for my hair extension journey, and I left the consultation more hopeful than I had felt in a long time.

After talking it over with my mother, I decided to give hair extensions a try. It was a big step for me, but I knew I was in good hands with Emily. With my thin texture, I worried that the extensions would damage my hair. But the braiding provided protection, and there was no glue or adhesives of any kind involved, just thread weaved through the braids. And the hair I chose was thick and natural looking, perfectly matched to my own hair color and texture. They blended seamlessly. And I could wear the hair up in a ponytail or bun, something I hadn’t been able to do in years. Best of all, my real hair was hidden away under a lace cap where I couldn’t get to it. I haven’t been able to pull at all, giving my hair time to grow back. My routine in the morning is super easy. No dry shampoo or root concealer needed. No beanies, bandanas or headbands either. I never have bad hair days anymore. And I have increased confidence when I go out.

Thank you Emily and Bond Hair Bar!

Sincerely,

Anonymous

Pull free for 5 months

Age 34, Vallejo, CA

August 21, 2021

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