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Overcoming Trichotillomania An Impulse Control Disorder (Learn to Heal)

Updated on February 20, 2010

Healthy Hair is important to us....

Learning to heal yourself.......

I pulled for over thirty years and couldn't find a solution.

In 2007 I found that solution after years of being controlled by Trichotillomania.

Before I go into detail about my journey I will tell you that you can learn more about me if you choose. My website is

You can leave me a detailed message there if you choose and I will get back with you.

I am also writing about Trichotillomania on a couple of different sites because I want to reach others who suffer and try to help them.

On my blog you will see some have had success since corresponding with me. That I am so proud of. I am so happy for them, but I need to do more and that is the reason for this post.

Anyway let’s get back to Trich and learning the ways I became healed.

I pulled only from the top of my head, I never pulled my eyelashes or anywhere else. My eyelashes did fall out and I have had to wear a few of the false ones until they grew back in. But it wasn't from pulling them out, it was from having Graves Disease, a thyroid condition, which made them weak. So I know what it was like not having eyelashes too, along with the bald patches I so hated on the top of my head and sides of the head.

But as for how I healed myself, well I did try meds, etc, nothing worked for me. Nothing until I got fed up completely.

I got so mad with not having the hair I wanted so badly.

I began looking through magazines and I picked out a long pretty layered style and I kept that picture for years in my purse. When I finally threw it away it was old and very tattered.

I wish I had saved it, but after I did get my hair back completely I threw the picture away.

But what I am getting at is that picture was one of my driving forces. Just one. God was my biggest driving force...

I prayed to God to help me find a way out from Trich. I truly believe he knew I was ready. Why, because in the past I had prayed and nothing happened. I still pulled. But this time I felt different. I could feel a change. I knew this time I would have success.

Let’s talk about how I feel different and how I got there.

Well it took a while.

I would get up in the morning and as soon as I finished brushing my teeth I would look into the mirror and visualize how I would look and feel, the feeling part is most crucial. I would feel fantastic. I would see myself with full hair before it actually happened.

I began talking myself through the process. I gave myself reassuring thoughts, nothing negative passed my lips, only positive thoughts, good thoughts. I had little sayings I repeated, and it can be anything you feel that is an uplifting feeling or thought for you.

Mine changed each time depending on what I wanted to say.

But to give you and idea/example, I would say Wanda you are strong, you can overcome this disorder, this disorder doesn’t control you, you control it. I would repeat it over and over, until I truly believed it in my mind.

I would say, I can have long beautiful healthy hair, and then I would say and you will very soon.

Get in front of the mirror and repeat it. Meditate and breath deep within. Learn to relax and let go. The mind is a truly amazing instrument, use it for the good only.

This time I was armed and ready to heal, to find my inner peace I had been lacking for such a long time.

So first and foremost you have to get your mindset where it needs to be to heal properly, again this is what worked for me. I pray it will work for you too.

Here are some suggestions, these are only suggestions, ones that worked for me.

If you pull from your scalp, wash your hair often.
Wetting the head disassociates the urge to pull.
Maybe this will work for eyelashes too, I don't know you can at least try it.

Really important things that helped were when I had an urge I would get up and write down how I was feeling at that moment. Guess what, I was usually feeling sad, lonely, or thinking a negative thought. So I began thinking about why I felt that way. Why was I letting a negative thought come into my mind and ruin my day and cause me to do something to myself that only made me feel worse. Because Trich relieves the stress you are feeling or at least cushions it some while you are in the act of pulling , and then to later only drop you further into a deeper sadness. Again this is how it made me feel.

So by listening to myself, by tuning in to what might have just happened minutes before I felt this sudden urge to pull out my own hair. I began stopping and thinking what was going through my mind and why.

Once I began figuring out my thought process and determining what I thought about each time, I began to see a pattern.

I was either just plain old bored, plopping down in front of the TV and automatically my hand went to my head.

What did this mean, well for me it was a pity party and I would pull.
So I decided to fix it.

When I was bored, I didn't pull anymore, common sense told me to get up and do something. I did just that, I began running on my treadmill. By doing this it brought up the good endorphins in my brain and I began to feel healthier and happier.

Next when I would sit down at night and didn't feel bored, I got quiet and listened to my thoughts. What was I thinking that was so bad that made me feel I wanted to pull my hair out. My own hair....

Well I would get a tingle and I thought the only thing to do was to pull. WRONG!!!!

What was I thinking, well sometimes I would think about a talk that maybe I had with someone earlier that day that I didn't agree with and I would stew over it. I would let it roll over my brain again and again, in a negative way... Not a positive way and lo and behold I had a reason to pull. How stupid was I by letting that opinion come into my brain in a negative way.
I stopped doing that and that's when I began controlling the why's of my pulling.

It takes a little while and it takes practice to change your mindset, it isn't an overnight fix. But it is obtainable and well worth your time and effort. At least it was for me and I am so glad I took the time to heal.

While I was in the process of retraining my thoughts, and was still working on a full success, this next tip helped me to slowly narrow down my pulling.

I allotted how many hairs I would actually allow myself to pull, and when I got to that allotment, I stopped. This takes practice too, but it helps you understand you can control Trich and it doesn't continue to control you. And as you get stronger, eventually with the right mindset training you are working on and the deciding of how many hairs you allow yourself to pull. Soon you will feel in total control and you won’t feel the need to pull any longer. You will feel different, and when that time comes you will know you are now being healed.
And that my friends feels wonderful....

I want you all to know that I began my process of healing in the first month of 2007, but in May 2007 I lost my Dad in a freak accident. He overturned his scooter that he rode into town each day to visit with the townspeople and to sell his pride and joy bird houses that he made with the help of his grandsons and sons.

His scooter turned over and he fell off after trying to climb a side street that was too steep for his scooter to make it up. He ended up hitting his head on the pavement and we were told his birdhouses went flying with him.

He was 85 and so full of life.

But to get to the point, my Dad didn't make it.

He ended up having a large bleed in the brain. It took him from us, we lost a man that was so full of life so loving and so sweet. I to this day feel that if this accident hadn’t happened he would have lived to be 100 or more.

I worshiped my Dad, he was my big teddy bear. But when I lost him my world came crumbling down.

I had spent the last five months healing and becoming strong. But when he died, my old reliable Trich was right there to pick me up. I caved in and let it have its way. Yes, I became weak once more and I pulled.

But thank goodness the things I learned about myself in the months before his death and with God's love now sweeping me up, I stopped just as quickly as I had begun. I did very little damage and it was because I was stronger, had I not been, well we all know what would have happened.. All that success I had in those five months would have been lost forever.

But it wasn’t.

I promised my Dad even though he wasn't here with me any longer that right then and there I would continue on and grow stronger from this sad event in my life and that I would never pull again no matter what happens from here on out in my life.

It's 2010 and I kept that promise to my Dad and to God and to myself...........

I continue reaching out in hopes to help others.

I did a local TV show to talk about Trich and you can see it at the link posted below.

I hope this helps someone out there who needs hope and encouragement to stop their battle with this terrible disorder.

Whatever you do, Don’t give up….

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      hi wandah..i am 22 and i am pulling out since i was 14 years old.

      i pull out on the top of my head. only head. i made 2 patches 1 or 2 year back but recovered them. to avoid patches, i never pull out from a single area. but i do it all over my head..i pull out textured hair and then swallow its roots (its gross). i am so sick of it. i knew its trichotillomania since i was 17. i told my family and close one. they dont understand what it is. they just say that its a bad habbit and i need to control. no one understands that how hard it is. i always pull out. i feel like i will die someday or i will end up in an asylum. i am an ovethinker. i am going crazy day by day. tried so many things, noting helped. never went to any doctor or psychotherapist. i have had very pretty and lustrous hair. now my hair are like some rough fibres of jute and uneven and volume has been reduced to half.

      i stop for a month or maximum two but then again fall for it. sometimes i am so irritated with this disorder that i want to end my life.

      i need help.

      and i have one more solution i have had thought of a long time ago- that is to shave my head until my hair grows back.

      should i do it?

      please suggest. i need help or i will end up in asylum :(

    • profile image

      Wanda h 

      7 years ago

      Hi Tammy,

      Thanks for responding to my writings. I am still pull free after all these years. I praise God for helping me and healing me. So you too can be healed, you just have to be strong and believe in yourself. Declare each day that this disorder be removed.....It will be.......I am praying for you. Be new and free.....All the best Wanda

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      hello, thank you for this article. Due to Trich I was isolated and self conscious for the majority of my life. It stunts normal activities and prevented me from getting close to others, as even having a conversation with someone I'm afraid they will notice where I've pulled. It is especially hard because "normal people" generally are unsympathetic towards sufferers of this frustrating and stubborn disorder. I will pray for some strengths and focus on positive self talk. Thanks for the support and sharing your story.

    • profile image

      Wanda H 

      8 years ago

      Hi K, Gallegos

      I can hear the desperation in your email. I know it is so very hard to stop pulling. I lived it first hand, and it basically takes over your life, if you allow it to. But when we are suffering with Trich we feel like there is no end. But there is an end to Trich, and that end is through God and believing in our own healing strengths. You have to dig deep down into the pit of your soul, to find the answers that God has waiting for you there. Pray, cry out to him, plead with him to heal you. Then go and plead with yourself, like you have never done before. Realize why you pull, take control of the situation once and for all, get down right mad. While doing all this listen to what God has to say, what is he telling you. Get in a quite place, where you can feel his presence and let him know you are ready to be rid of Trich. Go and find the answers, you so very much deserve to find and to finally be set free from this disorder. Each day you awake, praise God for being there, praise God for giving you your life and ask him to set you free, and to show you the key elements to stop this disorder.

      Best to you...You can prevail...........

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi I want to say thanks for your forum, I have been battling trich for about 14 years and I have stopped for a ye or so here or there but now it's gotten so bad I hardly have any hair on top, I tell myself I'll stop everyday which we all no that's not possible, I've been to every therapist and doctor possibly and I've taken so many medications and nothing seems to help. My husband has been very supportive but not it's getting to the point where he is tired of me hurting myself, he actually just left on a deployment for 9 months and I keep telling myself I want pretty hair when he returns. I know it won't be perfect but I'm

      Hoping it'll be grown in enough and it's gotten worse sense he's left but by reading your forum and a few others I've gotten some inspiration and I pray it works I'm sick and tired of battling this, and what makes it bad is I'm a hairdresser and I get so jealous of all the pretty hair I do and I thought doing hair would help but it didn't. Any tips or suggestions ;) I'm trying the hat thing and I've tried having something in my hand such as stress ball but it didn't help.. Thanks again

    • Wandah profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Amber,

      I have read your message, and I am so sorry you are going through a tough time. Trich is a terrible disorder to have, I know I too lived it first hand for way too long. I love what you added at the end, I will beat this you stated. And that is exactly how you should look at this situation, you can and you will beat it. I know it won't be easy but you can do it. You have to find the solution that works for you, that gets you the end results you are striving for. God is there to help you, and he will listen and he will guide you if you are open to hear his suggestions and support. Pray to him, tell him you have had enough of this disorder and you are now ready to rid yourself of it. Don't be afraid to get angry,be forceful and yet be kind to yourself and don't beat yourself up for pulling. If you fall back some, get right back up and begin again, eventually you will have success and you will be happy you gave yourself the time and effort it takes to be rid of this horrible disorder that will rule your life if you allow it to continue. I will stop right now and pray for you, I just did.....I asked God to guide you, to heal you, to give you strength and courage to end this disorder in your life. I told him to show you the way to the right actions and to uplift you to his higher power, so that you will overcome this. I know you will succeed and I look forward to hearing the good news, that you are free from Trich.. And maybe thyroid has something to do with Trich, I don't know, but I do know we have to vigilant in finding the solution to ending our journey with Trich. My blog site has been closed, but you can reach me here anytime......Take care and best to you......WH

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi Wanda,

      First, I'd like to thank you for sharing your experience and how you were able to overcome this disorder. I tried to visit your website to write you a message like you suggested, but for some reason it says " not found" so I'll just write you a message here. I am a 23 year old girl who has been pulling since I was in 6th grade. It started with my eyelashes, then moved to my eyebrows, then moved to my scalp, and currently is back with my eyebrows. I was also diagnosed with a hypothyroid in high school and for some reason I convinced myself that the irritating feeling I would feel in my different hair areas that would cause me to start pulling actually came from having a hypothyroid since it's known to cause hair loss. I have allowed myself to think this, and have also led my husband to believe this for years and years. I have prayed to God and fasted and begged myself to stop this behavior since I was 11 years old and nothing changed. That's why your experience intrigues me so much- you seem to have had that same experience. Today was the first time I actually thought about this problem and stopped lying to myself (I admitted to myself that this can't possibly be happening because of my hypothyroid) so I searched the internet and what do you know? There is an actual disorder called Trichotillomania that describes exactly what I do, and there are people that feel the exact same way I feel. I told my husband about it and he is upset about it; he doesn't understand. He thinks 'how could you do that to yourself?' and 'why don't you just have self control and just.... not do it?'. I want to control this disorder and I'm determined to do it, that's how I came upon this website so thank you for your advice! I will beat this.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you for taking the time to answer. I did pray and will continue to pray until god grants me the miracle of making my pulling stop completely. It seems that my pulling is always and only when I'm at home. I have been pulling my lashes since I was a child and can't stop it's affected my social life and it doesn't help at all when your own family criticizes you and makes fun of you. Sometimes I feel like I can't take this anymore but when I start praying and getting close to god and it actually makes me feel better and makes me feel full of hope and because of that I WILL CONTINUE TO PRAY AND NOT LOSE HOPE.

    • Wandah profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Trichotillomania would not qualify you for disability.

      The best way to stop Trich is by finding what works for you. Don't give up on finding the right answers for yourself, you owe it to yourself to find a solution. Praying is a start.....Ask and ye shall receive, so ask God to stop your hair pulling disorder. He might not answer today, but he will answer. Just pray each day for help with your Trich problem, eventually you will be free from this and you will be so thrilled you didn't give up hope. BLESS YOU ALL....

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Do people with trichotillomania qualify for SSI ? DOES ANYBODY ON HERE GET SSI FOR BEING DIAGNOSED WITH TRICHOTILLAMANIA???????

    • profile image

      Emma R 

      8 years ago

      i was born with trichotillomania by pulling my mums hair till i grew my own and since then i haven't stopped, or taken breaks for over 2hours from pulling my hair i understand it harms and make me look bad but i just can't seem to stop so i decided to look up tips on how to slow it down because it recently got really bad a realisable so i got my hair cut short like a boys and i thought that would but it hasn't so am now 13 and embarrassed of my hair can you give me some tips please...?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hello Hopeless,

      I am sorry to hear that you are having troubles with trichotillomania.

      You should join facebook, there is a group on there that is really good, and you will get lots of support to help you heal.

      Best WH

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i'm 17 , i've been pullling for 3 years, i'm so sick of it , i'm so tired,

      am pretty and social, ppl tell me that am so smart =] , maybe thats why i'm extremely sensitive, cuz i think too much bout things. I'm full of energy, too much energy maybe, cuz now i take pills to help me focus when stdying, (i'm from Israel - am Arabian- btw)

      i have no idea y am tellin u all this, but...

      i need ur help =(

      i wish u contact me:

      thank you

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      10 years ago from Texas

      Fascinating. Everyone has there own way of overcoming adversity. Your will to control youe own life triumphed. Thanks for sharing.

    • Wandah profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Thanks Jane,

      God is fabulous, he really deserves all the praise....

      Thanks for watching my interview. I hope to continue helping others. I pray that millions will become healed and never have to worry about Trich again.

      I'll just keep reaching out and God keeps pushing me in that direction.

      Thanks for reading my hubs........... And being my friend..

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 

      10 years ago from Oregon

      PS-- I just watched your interview! You did a great job and I loved how you gave the glory to your Savior Jesus Christ for bringing you through as "more than a conqueror" though His love because now you are able to help others!

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 

      10 years ago from Oregon

      I praise God for what He has done in your life! It just throws medical advice to the wind when we see that the true solution was the grace of God in your own initiative all along. Thank you for sharing this lovely story. I hope others who are suffering from this disorder will be able to find you and be helped too.


    • Wandah profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Thanks Lynda,

      To answer your question Trichotillomania stands for an Impulse Control Disorder, once you develop the disorder you begin to pull your own hair. Or wherever the urge to pull starts. It can be your eyebrows, eyelashes, scalp hair which I pulled, and it can be anywhere on the body actually.

      Trichotillomania broken down stands for Trich=(hair) till= (pull) mania= (madness)

      About 3.5% of our population is affected and it has been called the silent disorder because most are too ashamed to speak about it to anyone other than really close family members or friends they truly trust with their secret.

      Affirmations are a great way to heal almost anything. But it has to be practiced over and over before it can work for most.

      Thanks for the pointers and becoming a follower.

      Talk with you real soon, Best Wanda

    • Lynda Gary profile image

      Lynda Gary 

      10 years ago

      Thank you for inviting me to read your hub. I see that you started your healing process with the vigorous use of affirmations. These are helpful for anyone trying to overcome anything challenging -- convincing oneself of something true or not, to make it true. (As in, repeatedly saying to yourself "I do not want to smoke," even when you've not kicked the habit. Or, "I am beautiful," even when you don't beleive it, etc.

      If you don't mind me pointing this out: You might want to add a definition of trich at the start of your hub. It takes a few paragraphs for the reader to feel certain he understands that it means, "pulling out your hair." (In fact, I'm curious now to know exactly what it means, etc.)

      Good for you, for reaching your goal and overcoming something that plagued you for so long! (And, your hair IS beautiful!)


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