Trichotillomania: What Is It & What Can Be Done About It?
What is Trichotillomania? What can be done about it? Trichotillomania is probably one of the most misunderstood conditions for those who find themselves affected by it and their family and friends. You pronounce it trick-oh-till-oh-MAY-nee-ah, the long official name is often shortened to Trich (TTM). The disorder is a repetitive behavior of pulling your own hair. Each person with this disorder is different. The location of the hair that is pulled, the extensiveness, disruptiveness of the urges, and the duration all differ. Trichotillomania can involve hair pulling from the scalp, eyebrows, arms, pubic area and legs. This hair pulling can lead to hair being pulled out, causing bald patches to develop on the scalp. For many affected with Trich, they are often unaware that they are pulling their hair and find treatment quite manageable but some find the urges to overwhelming to ignore and they can’t think of any think else.
The awareness of trichotillomania is rather new. The classification and definition are still evolving as the experts in the field continue to understand and learn more about Trich, and continue to have discussions about the disorder with other professionals.
Trichotillomania is categorized as a BFRB (body focused repetitive behavior). It is a way of approaching the subset of impulse control disorders that are specifically, consistently, and compulsively damaging to one’s body. Things like nail biting and skin picking also fall into this category. The classification recognizes the disorder that resembles habits, addictions, and tics but separates them from the broader obsessive-compulsive disorder and other externally impacting impulse disorders such as kleptomania and pyromania.
Trichotillomania Can Affect Anyone
This disorder doesn’t discriminate. It can affect a person regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, or background. It can happen to happy, well-adjusted people as well as those that are experiencing high amounts of stress or anxiety. According to trich.org, preliminary evidence indicates that Trich is a neuro-biological disorder and that genetics plays a role in its development. They describe this susceptibility as a self-soothing mechanism that can be triggered by simple sensory events or stress events. With such a broad base of impacted individuals, research doesn’t eliminate the possibility that the cause of Trich can be multiple and varied. In the United States alone, some 2 to 4 percent of the population suffer from Trichotillomania. More often women than men.
Hope for Trichotillomania: Yes, Solutions are Available!
There is hope and there is help. For many with trichotillomania, there are hair loss centers across the country that have experience working with women, men and children affected by Trichotillomania. They have the taken that experience and combined it with the latest, advanced hair replacement technology and custom-made wigs. This means that you can get the most comfortable and realistic hair loss solution.