Who Suffers from Trichotillomania, and How Can It Be Managed?

Hair is by far among the essential determinants of beauty. This means that your hair can have an impact on your overall look and even your self-confidence. For this, it deserves the utmost care and attention. However, a wide range of factors can affect how your hair looks and grows. Anyone who guessed right can tell that this has a lot to do with how you handle your hair. For instance, some people tend to feel compelled to pluck out a hair strand, which is not always wise. 

When we talk of your hair, we refer to the hair on your head and the hair on other parts of the body. Also referred to as trichotillomania, hair pulling affects a broad range of body parts, including the scalp, beard, groin area, around the eyes, and many parts of the skin. This piece will discuss trichotillomania, who it affects, and how it can be managed. 

What Is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a condition in which people are compelled to pluck their hair out. Hair pulling can occur practically anywhere on the body with hair, with the most common locations being the head, genital areas, beard, eyelashes, and eyebrows. 

Hair pulling is a common unintentional habit in which the victims pull out their hair unconsciously. This causes bald patches in the regions listed. Thankfully, hair pulling is not a permanent problem because it is treatable. As discussed by the GROW Community, support is perhaps all you need to overcome the urge and avoid the negative repercussions. Besides, almost two percent of the entire planet suffers from trichotillomania, so you can be sure you are not alone. 

Possible Trichotillomania Causes 

It hasn't been determined what exactly causes the condition. However, suggestions point towards stress and anxiety as some of the potential triggers and factors to blame. Adolescents are also susceptible to the condition due to hormonal changes in their bodies. Chemical abnormalities in the brain could also be a contributing factor.

Who Suffers from Trichotillomania?

Adolescents account for the majority of cases of this condition. This is because, at this age, the human body experiences multiple variations in hormone levels. The condition can also affect younger children, but this is uncommon. When the illness strikes during these formative years, both males and females are affected virtually equally. Later on, the gender balance leans more towards women.

Trichotillomania affects people of various ages, from infants to 60-year-olds or older. It is possible to have trichotillomania for a few months or even more than 20 years. The lack of a definite etiology for the condition makes it difficult for physicians to devise a cure.

How to Manage Trichotillomania

Hair pulling can be a very stressful condition for many people, especially if the impulse to pull hair comes from your genital areas. Thankfully, the problem can be identified and treated as follows:

  • Professional Diagnosis 

The diagnosis of what might be promoting the illness is usually the first step in controlling it. A professional diagnosis also helps determine if you have trichotillomania. Identifying if the cause is a mental disorder, stress, hormone changes, or any other possible reason will help you plan a course of action for controlling the problem.

  • Management/Treatment 

After a positive diagnosis, the appropriate treatment or management plan is then determined. One or a combination of the following therapies can be applied:

1. Habit Reversal Training

The desire to pluck out hair usually arises unexpectedly. As a result, determining the triggers that cause you to pluck your hair and substituting them with other actions is usually one of the therapies. Recognizing these instances allows you to take alternate measures instead of pulling your hair out. Some typical replacements for the urge include clenching your fists or massaging your ears. It isn't easy at first, especially if you've been pulling your hair for a long time. However, when used in conjunction with other treatments, it can be highly beneficial.

2. Acceptance and Commitment therapy 

Unlike habit reversal therapy, this therapy teaches people how to ignore their cravings to pull their hair out completely. There are no substitutes; instead, you avoid yanking out your hair entirely. It is, in fact, one of the most successful treatments for trichotillomania.

3. Cognitive Therapy 

This therapy focuses on people's incorrect perceptions about hair pulling. Understanding the reasons for the disorder, avoiding mistaken beliefs, and accepting the treatments designed to help you manage the disease are all strategies to manage the condition. When paired with habit reversal therapy, this therapy is quite helpful at reducing the need to take out the hair.

Identification is perhaps the most critical aspect of trichotillomania management. It affects people from both genders and across all age groups, so awareness is also vital. With the above few pointers in mind, one can quickly tell if they have hair pulling syndrome and manage it.

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