is an impulse control disorder in which the patient suffers from a severe urge
to pull hair from the scalp, eyelids, eyebrows and pubic area. Frequently
pulling out hair could lead to noticeable hair loss and bald patches, that
further aggravate distress and social or functional impairment. This is a rare
and chronic disorder and treatment poses a challenge to doctors.
occurs in infants as early as 18 months, but the peak of the onset is during
the teenage. It is estimated that only 0.6% of the total global population is
affected by this disorder out of which 3.4% of them are women from United
States and India. There have been cases where a solid ball of hair has been
surgically removed from the stomach of women suffering from trichotillomania
and like to eat their hair. The hair strands get accumulated in their stomach
over a period of time and occupy the whole stomach.
is a form of self-harm. It may occur in people who have been going through
stress, anxiety, depression, relationship issues and harassment for a long
time. In people suffering from trichotillomania, an urge to pull out their hair
develops when they are sad or stressed. Affected persons get temporary relief
after pulling their hair out, which releases endorphins in their body. Other secondary symptoms of trichotillomania
include picking one's skin, biting nails, high anxiety levels, panic attacks
and obsessive thoughts. At present, there is no particular treatment
available for trichotillomania.
suffering from this compulsive disorder most often pulls hair from the scalp to
feel the pain. According to experts, emotions like guilt, anxiety,
self-loathing and low-esteem may trigger trichotillomania. Women going through
sexual abuse might pull their hair out to look physically unattractive. It
could be related to genetic disorder in much younger kids when they start
pulling their eyelashes and hair from the scalp.
There is no
specific treatment for trichotillomania at present. Habit Reversal Training (HRT) is
practiced to make the person aware of the impulse to pull their hair and
control this urge.
This training has shown major success in treating
many other self-harm disorders. Other than that, doctors prescribe several
anti-depressants like Acetylcysteine and Clomipramine. The person is taught to
relax and de-stress in order to avert the impulse of pulling out one's hair.