Trichotillomania is a disorder that affects millions of people every year. It is characterized by the urge to pull out some or all of your hair on various parts of your body, usually the eyebrows, eyelashes or scalp. The disorder typically begins during childhood or adolescence and can continue into adulthood. It is more common in women than men.
Traumatic events, such as death or divorce of parents, neglect by parents, and physical or sexual abuse can trigger trichotillomania.
It is estimated that as many as 5% of the population may be affected by it at some point in their lives. The average age of onset is 15, with women being four times more likely than men to have the disorder.
The cause of Trichotillomania is not known. Some causes suggested have been stress, anxiety, depression and boredom. It’s also associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), although many people who pull out their hair do not have OCD.
The most common form of treatment for Trichotillomania is the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This teaches you to control the urges to pull out your hair through relaxation techniques, self-talk and imagination. There are also prescription medications that may be helpful. These include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Other treatments for Trichotillomania include habit reversal training and hypnosis.
If left untreated, Trichotillomania can cause psychological effects such as anxiety and depression. It also may make you feel uncomfortable with your appearance.