Trichotillomania is hair pulling disorder characterized by an impulse control problem. Trichotillomania can vary in different degrees of severity and affects both sexes. According to the APA “The phenomenon of trichotillomania, or hair pulling, has been observed for centuries. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates noted hair pulling as one of the many symptoms that the physician was advised to assess as a routine matter. In our present time and culture, “pulling one’s hair out” is more typically referred to in the context of depression, frustration, boredom, or other emotional turmoil.”
The psychological trauma, guilt, and shame can be overwhelming. Trichotillomania can start in childhood and adolescents may grow out of the compulsion; however, when the problem does not resolve itself other treatments may be implemented. Psychotherapy has proven to be successful with some individuals. During therapy, the individual learns to recognize the impulse and then redirect the need for hair pulling. In other cases, medication can produce positive results, but you must always consult your doctor before taking medication to treat Trichotillomania.
In regards to which treatments are more beneficial, you must carefully weigh the pros and cons. The Mayo Clinic gives a helpful breakdown of the differences below.
Types of therapy that may be helpful for trichotillomania include
- Habit reversal training. This behavior therapy is the primary treatment for trichotillomania. You learn how to recognize situations where you’re likely to pull your hair and how to substitute other behaviors instead. For example, you might clench your fists to help stop the urge or redirect your hand from your hair to your ear. Other therapies may be used along with habit reversal training.
- Cognitive therapy. This therapy can help you identify and examine distorted beliefs you may have in relation to hair pulling.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy. This therapy can help you learn to accept your hair-pulling urges without acting on them.
Therapies that help with other mental health disorders often associated with trichotillomania, such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse, can be an important part of treatment.
Although no medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration specifically for the treatment of trichotillomania, some medications may help control certain symptoms.
For example, your doctor may recommend an antidepressant, such as clomipramine (Anafranil). Other medications that research suggests may have some benefit include N-acetylcysteine (as-uh-tul-SIS-tee-een), an amino acid that influences neurotransmitters related to mood, and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical antipsychotic.
Newport Hair Loss Center specializes in treating individuals who live with Trichotillomania. Nazy has created handcrafted human hair wigs and extensions for men and women dealing with Trichotillomania and Alopecia. Nazy understands and empathizes with the emotions of hair loss. NHLC is truly safe for advice, suggestions, and solutions for your hair loss issues.