Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder)
Trichotillomania is the overwhelming impulse to pull out the hairs on your body and scalp. This disorder is often triggered by social factors, stress, or other emotional issues in your life. Trichotillomania usually begins at the ages of 9-13, but can be seen in younger children. Some people feel a sense of relief or satisfaction from removing the hair while others may not even be conscious of what they’re doing while they pull at their hair. This disorder is believed to lie on the obsessive compulsive disorder spectrum.
Symptoms & signs of trichotillomania
- A compulsive urge to remove hairs from your body
- Going into a trance-like state when removing the hairs
- Unusual patterns of hair growth or baldness caused by the “pulling”
- Not remembering the “pulling” after having done it
- Feeling relief while or after pulling the hairs
- Embarrassment or shame for pulling and how the hair loss affects your appearance
When is it time to get help?
If you are aware of this impulse to pull your hair and not able to stop yourself from doing so, then it may be time to learn some new and healthier ways to deal with stress, anxiety, or other emotional issues in your life.
Trichotillomania treatment methods
Trichotillomania can be treated through different therapies including;
- Behaviour Therapy tends to view human beings and behaviour with the assumption that humans are a product of their sociocultural conditioning and environment, looking at the current problems and the factors influencing them and emphasizes behaviour changes more than the underlying unconscious processes.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
- Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is defined by EMDR Canada as an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and many other mental health problems that utilized bilateral eye stimulation or somatic responding.
- Emotionally Focused Therapy is based on observations and experience. It looks at emotions and emotional intelligence, which helps support stronger and more secure relationships by helping better understand how our actions impact others, and how our emotions drive our interaction.
- Mindfulness Therapy is an approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves, others, and the world. The ability to be in the moment, to acknowledge and regulate your emotions helps you to break free from negative thought patterns.
Together with your therapist you’ll determine the cause of your trichotillomania and then explore the best treatment method for your particular circumstances.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
Working with one of our therapists that specialize in trichotillomania, you may find that you can overcome the issues that have lead to your urge to pull your hair. You will learn new and better ways to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, boredom, etc. Contact us to learn more or to book an appointment.