Trichotillomania – Self-induced Hair Loss
Trichotillomania is defined as “the recurrent, compulsive pulling out of one’s own hair, often resulting in noticeable hair loss.” Usually, the most common places for pulling hair out are the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes. But trichotillomania may involve any part of the body with hair, and less common locations for hair pulling include the pubic area, perirectal region, arms, chest and legs. Those with trichotillomania typically use their fingernails, tweezers, pins or other mechanical devices to pull out the hair.
Those who suffer from trichotillomania episodes commonly describe a high level of tension and a strong “urge,” with the hair pulling, offering a sensation of relief or pleasure. Hair pulling is usually done alone while watching TV, reading, talking on the phone, driving or while grooming in the bathroom. A trichotillomania episode may be triggered by a negative mood or in response to stress, but may also happen while an individual is calm and relaxed. Sometimes hair pulling is done as a conscious behavior, but it is frequently done as an unconscious habit.
In severe cases, trichotillomania can result in permanent hair loss or skin damage.
Trichotillomania – A Personal Hair Loss Story
My name is Susan. I’m a hair loss specialist at Allusions and this is my personal story about trichotillomania.
I used to make up excuses for the bald spots on the top of my head. Sometimes I said shampoo caused it. Other times I made up stories about tragic car accidents. I knew people doubted my stories, but I couldn’t face telling them what was really happening: I’d been pulling my hair out since I was 12 years old. When my mother found out, she threatened to take me to a psychiatrist. This just made me get more creative about hiding the damage I was doing with well-placed ponytails, hats, barrettes, and when older, wigs.
I had no idea why I pulled my hair or why I couldn’t stop. Many times I did it without thinking. One thing for sure: I was the only one doing this “crazy” thing. That is until I read about someone else (in a “Dear Abby” column of all things) that was also doing this weird thing. To my amazement there was even a name for this condition and an organization that could help. And best of all, I wasn’t crazy.
If you or someone you know is suffering from trichotillomania, there are resources available. We encourage you to contact these organizations to seek help.
Trichotillomania Learning Resource Center
Teen’s Health: Trichotillomania
Mental Health America: Trichotillomania
Let us help you
We understand hair restoration and treatment options can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re happy to answer any additional questions you may have about hair loss due to trichotillomania as well as discuss your hair restoration and treatment options. Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today, please call 513.891.5411.