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Also known as hair pulling disorder, trichotillomania is a mental disorder characterized by irresistible urges to pluck hair from your scalp, your eyebrows, or any other area of your body where hair grows. When a victim has been bothered by this condition for a while, it can leave patchy bald spots on the scalp, and this can become unsightly and embarrassing.
It is sometimes necessary for people afflicted by trichotillomania to go to extravagant lengths to hide the fact that they have hair loss. In some cases, the condition is fairly manageable and mild, but for other people, trichotillomania can present an irresistible and overwhelming urge that they simply cannot control.
There are quite a few symptoms and signs associated with trichotillomania, including all of the following:
In attempting to diagnose trichotillomania, a professional may examine exactly how much hair loss you have already experienced. They will probably also ask you questions relative to this hair loss, and may perform tests on you to discover if other possible causes of hair loss have contributed to the condition. Prior to making a diagnosis, it may be necessary for your physician to perform a complete medical history on you, so as to determine if any other factors have contributed to your present hair loss condition.
Although there has not been a great deal of research done on trichotillomania, there are some options available which have been successful at helping patients reduce their hair-pulling, or to stop altogether. Habit reversal training is a behavioral therapy treatment which helps the patient recognize situations likely to trigger a hair-pulling session, and to substitute other behaviors instead.
Cognitive therapy is another form of treatment which can help you identify and analyze some of the beliefs and assumptions you've made with regard to hair-pulling. Acceptance and commitment therapy helps you to accept the fact of your hair-pulling urges, without actually following through and acting on them.
It's a good idea to see your family doctor immediately when you recognize that you have an irresistible urge to pull out your hair, or if you notice that kind of behavior from your child. This is also true if you or your child has developed a habit of eating the plucked out hair, because any hairballs which form in the stomach can lead to serious problems and illnesses.
If you've been victimized by trichotillomania, you don't have to shut yourself indoors and stop socializing. At Gabi's Wigs, we can fit you with the perfect customized wig to hide your hair loss, until therapy helps you overcome the situation. Contact us today so we can arrange for an initial consultation, or so we can answer any questions you may have about our fine natural-looking wigs.
A: Normally, the condition will not go away by itself. This is a mental disorder which requires professional intervention, so the causes can be known and an effective approach can be designed for treatment.
A: It won't do you any good to ask a trichotillomania victim "Why don't you just stop?", and it won't do any good to tell them to just relax so the hair-pulling can stop. The victim generally lacks control over the situation, so none of these kinds of suggestions will be helpful.
A: Among adults, the most common reason people become afflicted by trichotillomania is that it's their way of dealing with stress or anxiety. There could also be a physiological cause, such as a change in hormone levels, or there could be a chemical imbalance in the brain, similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
A: Some forms of therapy can be very helpful for people bothered by trichotillomania. For instance, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps the patient accept the fact of hair-pulling without actually performing the act. Committing to habit reversal can also contribute to a lessening of the behavior.
A: Hair-pulling often gives the victim a sense of satisfaction or relief. The urge to pull their hair in the first place is often due to a disruption in the brain's chemical signals, and this leads to the irresistible urge to pull their hair.
A: Many doctors and scientists consider the most effective form of therapy to be cognitive behavioral therapy, so if you can recommend that your friend seek out this kind of treatment, it may do them a world of good. A combination of psychotherapy and medication often produces good results as well, so discuss these solutions with your friend.
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