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Trichotillomania is a type of self-induced hair loss that is complex to fully understand. Officially regarded as a psychiatric disorder, trichotillomania is the compulsive and chronic urge to remove one's own hair by twisting or pulling out with force. This disorder is most prevalent in females starting around the age of 10, however it's found in people of all ages, genders and races. Even infants have been diagnosed with trichotillomania.

Causes of trichotillomania
While there is no singular cause of trichotillomania, the leading causes include depression, anxiety and other disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. Many professionals believe that trichotillomania can be caused by any type of stress. Other professionals believe this condition can become addictive over time.
Genetic research is underway that is attempting to link specific genes to a susceptibility to trichotillomania. Although no specific genes have been located yet, researches have reported preliminary success.

Symptoms of trichotillomania
The hair loss associated with trichotillomania is typically seen on the front and the sides of the head. For children, the hair loss is usually in places most easily reached -- especially above the ears, at the temples and on the crown. However, trichotillomania hair loss isn't limited to the scalp. Particularly in adults, this disorder often leads to hair loss on the arms, legs, face, eyebrows and eyelashes.
When diagnosing trichotillomania, professionals will look for differing lengths of hair, hair with a broken mid-shaft and blunt ends, inconsistent stubble, and the absence of lesions, scaling or anything else that could lead to another explanation.
Effects of trichotillomania
Most of the effects of trichotillomania are psychological. While the hair will typically grow back over time if the condition is controlled, the psychological effects are more difficult to manage. Trichotillomania can lead to self-esteem issues, especially among those whose hair loss is noticeable. People who suffer from this condition also tend to be ashamed or secretive about their actions. If stress is a cause, trichotillomania can actually lead to even more stress down the line.
Along with psychological effects, trichotillomania can lead to other complications including infections at the areas of hair loss and carpal tunnel syndrome. If the hair is ingested, which isn't uncommon, that could lead to gastrointestinal issues.
If trichotillomania is untreated for a long period of time, the hair loss can become permanent.
Treatment of trichotillomania
In infants and small children, trichotillomania is usually treated with patience. Since it's likely that young people will outgrow the condition, medications or other invasive treatments are rarely prescribed. A simple measure, such as wearing gloves to bed to limit hair pulling at night, is usually the first step taken for infants and small children, along with an attempt to limit stressful situations.
For adults, trichotillomania can be treated with behavior modification programs or habit reversal training. Concurrently, most professionals recommend patients seek a psychiatrist or psychologist. Some medications, including antidepressants, have shown success in treating trichotillomania. If the hair loss from trichotillomania has become permanent, a hair loss solution is recommended.