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Trichotillomania Help

Updated on July 26, 2012

Trichotillomania is a hair pulling disorder. People with this disorder have difficulty resisting urges to pull hair out. Those who suffer from this condition may develop noticeable bald spots from pulling hair out. Trichotillomania help includes therapists who are experienced in trichotillomania treatment.

This condition is classified as a body-focused repetitive behavior. Because of its compulsive element of people feeling the need to act on the hair-pulling urges, many professionals considered it to be a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. With obsessive compulsive disorder, people feel their anxiety levels rise until they act on their compulsive behavior. Then, their anxiety drops.

Like obsessive compulsive disorder, people with trichotillomania may experience increased anxiety before pulling out hair and feel a sense of relief afterwards. Though it is no longer considered an anxiety disorder, anxiety can worsen the symptoms and make the urges to pull hair out more difficult to resist.

Many different trichotillomania treatments have been tried, but not many prove to be effective. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the only trich treatment that works for a significant percentage of people who try it. Other treatments may work for some people.

Some prescription medications have reduced the urge to pull out hair in some people with trichotillomania. Though no medication is specifically designed for treating trichotillomania, antidepressants commonly are used. The antidepressants that are prescribed for this condition raise the levels of serotonin that is active in the brain. Doctors may prescribe other medications for trich based on their own experience in treating this disorder.

A trichotillomania diet has not been scientifically proven to successfully treat this disorder. Some people who have this condition have used a trich diet called the John Kender diet. Though the diet may be helpful for some people, experts warn that there is no evidence that diets can provide any relief from trich.

Trich support groups can be helpful. People with this condition tend to feel socially isolated. If they have noticeable hair loss, they may feel self-conscious about their bald spots. A trichotillomania support group provides an opportunity to meet with people who have the same problem and understand what it is like living with trich.

When someone with trich is feeling depressed or anxious, having supportive people to talk to can make it easier to cope with this disorder. However, even the friends and family who seem supportive may not understand trichotillomania. Educating supportive people around them can help people with trich to develop their own support networks.

There are several books that may help friends and family understand the condition. Reading these books can also be a source of trichotillomania help for people who suffer from the condition to help them gain knowledge and insight about the illness.

For more information about trichotillomania treatment, please visit my website.

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    • Sharicey profile image

      Sharice 5 years ago from Rhode Island

      It took me a long time to figure out that I have a mild case of this and that it runs in my family. Maybe its not a mild case but it was never to the point I had bald spots or needed medical attention for it. My grandma has it or has had it worst than me. She has no eyelashes because she has pulled them out. She has had trouble growing hair in the areas that she typically pull hair. She doesn't do it as much now and I'm not sure why. The same goes for me, I kind of grew out of it. I still do it occasionally with out realizing it.

      This article is dead on. It weird to read this and be like wow all these years I had an actual problem. It sheds so much light on this habit I have always been trying to break. Great Hub!

    • Healthy Pursuits profile image

      Karla Iverson 5 years ago from Oregon

      Excellent hub. I became aware of this disorder when I was 10 and a playmate's mother suffered from it. I saw her doing it once; she was staring off into space, pulling out one hair at a time, with much the same absent-mindedness that people have who are biting their nails.

      I always find it interesting when physicians ignore the possibility of dietary changes in favor of pills, even though we recognize that food has influence in so many facets of our lives. Food allergies and autoimmune responses have barely been noticed by mainstream medicine.