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Trichotillomania

February 14, 2012 393 No of hits
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Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is the compulsive urge to repeatedly pull out one's own hair, resulting in obvious hair loss, emotional distress, and social difficulties. It is an impulse-control disorder, characterized by tension that builds just prior to the hair pulling (in part caused by trying to resist the urge) and followed by a sense of pleasure and relief when pulling out the hair. The hair is pulled from the root and may result in bald patches. Hair from the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, or pubic area may be pulled. Those with this disorder may be conscious of the pulling, while others may not even be aware they're doing it. Diagnosis of trichotillomania is made after other mental disorders or medical/dermatological conditions are ruled out. However, an association between trichotillomania and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is suspected, because both conditions share similar symptoms of repetitive, compulsive behaviors. Some experts consider trichotillomania to be a subtype of OCD.

Depression is common with this particular impulse-control disorder, which may be due in part to the shame and low self-esteem generated by the chronic hair pulling. Anxiety and self-consciousness are often experienced. Other repetitive, compulsive behaviors sometimes seen with trichotillomania are head banging, nail biting, skin picking, and scratching. The scarring that may result from these habits further demoralizes the patient.

Although age of onset may vary considerably, compulsive hair pulling usually begins during early adolescence, between 12 and 13 years of age. Trichotillomania is more common in females than males. A stressful or aggravating event (for example, moving to a new school, the death of a parent, family conflict, or abuse) or hormonal changes associated with puberty may trigger the onset. A genetic predisposition toward this illness or a chemical imbalance within the brain may play a role, but researchers still are unsure about the cause.

Embarrassment and feelings of shame may prevent patients from seeking treatment; they don't want anyone to know what they're doing. The longer the patient goes without treatment, the more difficult the hair-pulling habit is to break. Medications used to treat OCD may help patients with trichotillomania. The success of pharmaceutical therapy increases when combined with behavioral therapy. Developing strategies to reverse the hair-pulling habit is a primary focus of behavioral therapy.

Tags:   Trichotillomania   Impulse-control disorder   Urge   Hair pulling   OCD   Repetitive   Compulsive behaviors   Hair-pulling habit  

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Trichotillomania is the compulsive urge to repeatedly pull out one's own hair, resulting in obvious hair loss, emotional distress, and social difficulties. It is an impulse-control disorder, characterized by tension that builds just prior to the hair pulling (in part caused by trying to resist the...

By: Richard Martine Created 75 months ago

Showing 13 Comments

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