Hair Pulling Disorder (Trichotillomania)

Hair Pulling Disorder

Hair Pulling Disorder 

We all have our ways to deal with anxiety and stress. For some people it may be a normal afternoon cry session and some people may suffer from the worst forms of anxiety with Trichotillomania also commonly known as hair-pulling disorder. 

The hair-pulling disorder is a mental illness when the person wants to pull their hair in a state of overwhelm. People who deal with the hair-pulling disorder often scrape off their hair from their scalp from a particular place, however, this disorder does not only consist of pulling scalp hair; the person can pull hair from any body part like arms, legs, or eyelashes. 

Trichotillomania often develops in adolescence but it can start at a very young age for a lot of people, it can get worse during the time our hormones are changing or are at peak.

Symptoms of trichotillomania  

After talking about the hair-pulling disorder let us find out all the symptoms of this disorder, here are all the possible symptoms.

  • A lot of people suffer from the desire to pull out hair repeatedly
  • It also includes breaking off pieces of hair
  • Sometimes you may also notice the person wanting to eat hair (trichology)
  • A person often feels relieved after pulling hair out
  • itching or tingling at the site where hair was pulled
  • bald spots
  • thinning hair
  • skin irritations
  • social anxiety

Causes of trichotillomania 

After talking about all the possible symptoms of the hair-pulling disorder let us now look at some of the common causes, here are all the causes of this disorder.

Both genetic and environmental factors play a huge role in a person developing the hair-pulling disorder, symptoms of this disorder may appear as young as 10-13 years. A lot of people who are suffering from this disorder do not even realize that they are pulling their hair, once they do they fall into the cycle of anxiety and embarrassment which continues. 

  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • autism
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

A lot of people dealing with the above mental issues may develop Trichotillomania, people dealing with this disorder may find pulling hair exciting due to the following reasons.

  • They may enjoy the feeling and the thickness of hair on their fingers
  • They may enjoy the feeling and the sensation of pulling the hair on their scalp

You can be diagnosed with the hair-pulling disorder after talking to your doctor, they will guide you and examine you and your medical history, here we will show a few symptoms or diagnosis prerequisite for this disorder. 

  • If you are recurrently pulling out of your hair and it is resulting in hair loss
  • If you are making repeated attempts to stop hair pulling
  • If your hair loss that is not attributable to another medical condition 

If you are going through any of the above-mentioned symptoms then we would request you to consult a specialist who will help you identify what are the causes of your disorder. People differ from one another and so their symptoms and causes to the disorder one of the symptoms that are prevalent in this disorder is pulling of hair. 

If you are becoming habitual of pulling your hair when you are under stress or anxiety then you might be dealing with Trichotillomania, please visit a doctor and get yourself diagnosed. 

How can you treat trichotillomania? 

After giving you an overview of the various symptoms and causes of the hair-pulling disorder it is time to give you some solutions that may help in making your condition better. Here are some of how you can treat trichotillomania. 

Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy has given proven results in people who are suffering from hair-pulling disorder, here are some of the key points of how behavioral therapy helps a person. 

  • Behavioral therapy helps in increasing a person’s awareness about this disorder and the triggers that may lure them into this act
  • Behavioral therapy helps in replacing the hair-pulling behavior into a more beneficial behavior, a person is taught to understand and react to their triggers
  • Behavioral therapy helps in finding ways to stay motivated and not to get fascinated to pull hair


A lot of doctors suggest medication along with behavioral therapy, it helps in controlling the triggers and desire to pull hair and can help in uplifting a person's mood. Here are some of the common medications that are prescribed to a person suffering from the hair-pulling disorder.

  • N-acetylcysteine
  • olanzapine
  • Clomipramine

Please make sure that you consult your doctor before consuming any medication. It is important to get diagnosed with this disorder before you consume any medication or else you may have some serious side effects. 

Complications caused by trichotillomania 

Here are some of the common complications that come along with the hair-pulling disorder. 

  • Emotional distress. This disorder comes with a lot of emotional and psychological distress, people are often subjected to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety which can make their condition worse.
  • Skin and hair damage. Constant pulling of hair can cause serious damage to the skin and the hair follicles. It may also cause infection, redness, and bleeding.
  • Hairballs. This disorder may also result in eating your hair in large quantities if not noticed. This can seriously damage your digestive system, hairballs may over time be the cause of weight loss, vomiting, intestinal obstruction.

Take Away 

The hair-pulling disorder is a serious issue, if you are someone who is suffering from this disorder then make sure that you consult a doctor.


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