What Is Trichotillomania?

A mental condition that drives people to irresistibly pull out their own hair is known as Trichotillomania.

Trichotillomania which is sometimes seen as a ‘bad habit’ or a tic, is usually classified as an impulse control disorder or a obsessive compulsive disorder.

Though some clinicians consider this an addiction, others see it as a disorder of the same kind that as pyromania (the impulse to deliberately start fires), pathological gambling and kleptomania (the urge to steal and collect / horde things).

Trichotillomania can lead the sufferer to pull out head hair, nose hair, facial hair, pubic hair, the eyelashes and eyebrows. Sometimes this disorder can manifest itself in bald patches where the hair has been pulled out. Parts of the eyebrows can be missing, and even the eyelashes can noticeably be missing in parts.

Depression or stress is usually observed to trigger this kind of hair pulling behavior. Trichotillomania is not a disorder to be taken lightly; it can worsen and some sufferers are also known to chew or eat their own hair which can result in the Rapunzel Syndrome which is a rare intestinal disorder that is caused by ingesting one’s hair.

Many Trichotillomania sufferers combat their disorder in isolation thinking they are the only ones with the problem. This is because of the stigmatization it has and the low levels of reporting. However this is something that needs intervention if it is not to escalate into a bigger problem.