Trichotillomania...

I have been pulling out my hair by the root for 7 years. It started because of my obsession with my curly hair. It's the only thing I really get compliments on and I became obsessed with its texture, leading me to pull out the "bad hairs" or those that were too thick and kinky for my liking, and I haven't stopped since.

Since then, my hair has gotten much thinner on top and I don't feel as confident about it as I would like. It's an impulse control disorder that I have no control over and I hate waking up in the morning and seeing a pile of dark coarse hair next to me.

I'm assuming since everyone on here has at least a slight obsession with their hair to care so much about it, that maybe someone else has experience with trich in some for or another?

My fondness for my curly hair has turned into a disorder, has this happened to anyone else?
I remember seeing a thread one time about someone who had it, but I don't remember that that was how it started with her.

I had an uncle who used to have it as a kid. He'd pull on it while watching TV and not even realize he was doing it until someone got on to him. Now he's almost totally bald, so it's no longer an issue :/ I don't think it really resolved for him - he didn't get it under control, really, he just started going naturally bald quite young like the other men on that side of the family. A blessing in disguise in his case, I guess.
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I do know of some girls who have shaved their heads, but as a curly girl, I don't think I could stand that!
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I had a friend who had this issue as a child; interestingly, she was also very curly. At the time, it seemed to be related to the stress she felt over her parents' divorce.

CC, is there someone professional you'd be willing to talk with? Sometimes it's hardest to understand our own behavior. That has certainly happened to me.
I don't have it, but I've heard a lot about it. Apparently it can occur with any body hair - arms, eyebrows, *****. some people do pick until they are bald in that area. It's commonly thought to be a form of OCD from what I understand.
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3b/3a - CG since 04-30-2009
fine texture, med porosity


Co-wash:
GTTT, Live Clean, EO Sweet Orange
Condish: Calia, AO Rosa Mosqueta/White Camellia/Honeysuckle Rose/Island Naturals/GPB, ABBA Pure Gentle, Desert Essence Shea Butter
DT: Usually just use one of my richer conditioners, sometimes add oils or honey
Gels: Homemade FSG!!!, Druide, BRHG, Alba Soft Hold Style Cream,
AOMM

experimenting with: honey, agave, oils, butters, ACV, Curls Milkshake, more conditioners





I know all about trichotillomania, and I have considered seeing a specialist for it, but I don't know of any in my area. I was just wondering if anyone else experiences that sensation of having to get rid of "the bad hairs" because I know with my curly texture, there are a lot of them.
Also, the trich makes me want to shave my head... I love my curls but they are driving me crazy, has any other girl on here buzzed it all off?
You might be interested in reading this old thread:
Hair Pulling
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If it becomes a real issue, I think you shouldn't hesitate to see a doctor, especially a specialist. I don't know whether to recommend a dermatologist or a psychiatrist, but both will know how to treat you. Good luck...
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i'm also a hair puller.

i started when i was 14 (am now 26).

i mainly pull body hair. eyebrows, eyelashes, arms, legs, etc. i dont really pull my head hair too much. although sometimes i'll just take bunches of my hair and pull on it (without pulling it out).

when i get into doing it, it's almost as if nothing else exists. i get so caught up in it. i especially get frustrated when i'm having trouble pulling a hair out. i get so tense and there's this instant sense of relief when it finally comes out.

it is an impulse control disorder. i've also seen it classified as a type of self-injury (although, i'm not sure i would say that...could be in a way, i guess)

Last edited by runrunrunner; 02-28-2010 at 10:38 PM. Reason: adding more
I'm so sorry you deal with this. Can you get some cognitive behavioral therapy?
good luck to you

Alternative therapy
biofeedback

Some coping techniques
Here are some steps that may make dealing with trichotillomania easier:

■Be aware of situations that typically lead to pulling, such as watching television, driving or reading.
■Engage in activities that keep your hands busy knitting or sketching, for instance.
■Wear gloves on your hands to discourage pulling.
■Join a support group to connect with others who face the same challenges. Support groups aren't for everyone, but some people find them extremely valuable.
■Get expert advice on purchasing a wig or applying makeup if you're bothered by your hair loss.
■Keep your hair short and take good care of it.
■Ask family and friends to alert you when you're unconsciously pulling your hair.
■Learn stress-reduction techniques other than pulling.

Some informative websites

The trichotillomania Learning Center
http://www.trich.org/

LOTS of info @ webmd
http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/t...llomania-10565

http://www.vachss.com/help_text/trich.html

http://www.brainphysics.com/hair-pulling.php
i'm also a hair puller.

i started when i was 14 (am now 26).

i mainly pull body hair. eyebrows, eyelashes, arms, legs, etc. i dont really pull my head hair too much. although sometimes i'll just take bunches of my hair and pull on it (without pulling it out).

when i get into doing it, it's almost as if nothing else exists. i get so caught up in it. i especially get frustrated when i'm having trouble pulling a hair out. i get so tense and there's this instant sense of relief when it finally comes out.

it is an impulse control disorder. i've also seen it classified as a type of self-injury (although, i'm not sure i would say that...could be in a way, i guess)
Originally Posted by runrunrunner
Wow, exactly like me

I pull as well, never the hair on my head. I started in my teens and didn't realize it was a problem until 20. It became a ritual and for me a form of self-injury as I would search for hairs that were the most resistant to pull. What helps now is knowing my triggers and being aware of when I'm beginning that ritual. I have more control now, but I still pull occasionally but no where near as much as I use to. Usually, I pull the hair but realize what I'm doing and stop before it comes out.

I've been reading about inositol, and NAC trich and I'm going incorporate more of it in my vitamin regimen. Researchers believe it to reduce the sensation to pull as well as help those with OCD. These supplements also promote hair growth. I'm no Doc so I'd talk with one before trying to treat trich, but I provided a link with more info

http://westsuffolkpsych.homestead.com/Inositol.html

http://ihealthbulletin.com/blog/2009...chotillomania/
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Last edited by jeweld; 03-06-2010 at 04:50 PM.
I have the same problem...I've probably only started in the past year, but it started the same way - I'd pull out the particularly coarse, wiry hairs. I switched to side parting my hair because I pulled out all the hairs along my original middle part.
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I have had this problem off and on over the years from the age of 5, and I am now 37.

For me it started as pulling out my eyelashes then by the age of 10, I also started to pull my hair from my head. My parents took me to a doctor because I had bald patches on my head and my mom was worried. The doctor at the time thought I was stressed out and it was my way of getting rid of the stress. Once I was seen by the doctor, my mom and 3 sisters would watch me at home while I was reading or watching TV and if I started to pull my hair, they would bring it to my attention. It sort of helped me become self aware of what I was doing.

I have had periods of time when I went a long time with out any hair pulling. But any stress seams to bring it back on for me. Like when my second son was born very ill and it took till the age of 9 months for them to find he had a Primary Immune Defect. He almost died 3 different times with blood infections, I was so worried about him and the stress was hard to deal with I had 3 spots on my head and it was kind of hard to cover the one up. I felt so awful that I let it get so out of control.

My husband and 4 boy's ( ages 16,15,13, and 12) will sometimes catch me starting to pull my hair and they just say something to startle me
( like...Hay Mom did you see ___) the sudden distraction seems to bring the hair pulling to my attention and I stop myself. I try to keep my hands busy when I find myself with my hands testing strands of hair out to pull.

I should add that I do not pull hand fulls of hair out, it is one strand at a time.
I've dealt with the same thing as well. I started my freshman year in highschool and wasn't aware of it until a classmate asked me why all my eyelashes were gone and had bald spots. I am now entering my junior year of college and have gotten tons better. I had my hair cut about an inch to two inches and that helped alot. Then I started growing my hair out and it came back full force. Not only were stressful things happening in my life but I pull my hair back most of the time during my grow out process and if a hair was out of place, I just pull it out. My temples were really bad from pulling and I finally got so embarrassed of it that I trained myself to become aware of my pulling. Wearing my hair down helps because I don't notice my out of place hairs. I have learned to catch myself when my hands go up to pull; I just give my head a nice quick massage in stead of pulling and it actually helps relax and release the tension. I'm still struggling a little but I have gotten so much better and my hair is growing in normally now.

So yah... basic tips that worked for me...
  • cut your hair short
  • have someone accountable to help you notice
  • when you feel your hands go up to pull, massage your scalp instead of pulling
Wow, I didn't know so many people here are going through this problem. I pull my hair to feel the texture but not to pull it out. I start feeling one hair after another until I find one with lots of bumps and keep pulling it from root to bottom. If I start, I won't let go until I start getting headache, LITERALLY! Sometimes, I feel so scared that I may be causing some damage to my brain or head or whatever because once I get that pulling-headache it doesn't go away for at least two days. It gets worst during exams and very stressful times, it doesn't mean that I dont' do it when I'm relaxed but it's less intense. In fact I love watching TV and reading and that's when I lose myself and do it the most. My husband reminds me all the time, even my little girl tries to remind me now, but it didn't really work.
I tried wearing band aids in my finger so I don't feel the texture. It helped a lot but it wasn't nice for my fingers they started getting dry and looking weird after a while. Wearing gloves is working for me right now, but I just discovered this trick (about a month ago) and I've been doing this for 14 years, I don't know if wearing gloves all the time will help me get over it, or if I'm doomed to wearing gloves for the rest of my life.
But the pulling out the hair is more serious I guess you probably should talk to your doctor he may do some research and forward you to a specialist. Maybe a shrink can help you know, he can help you reveal why exactly your doing it and knowing the reason usually helps you get over whatever you're doing.
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I think it's so important that we know that there are other people out there who have to deal with this. Trich doesn't have to rule your life. I recently cut a LOT of my hair off and it got rid of a lot of the damage and that has slowed down my pulling. Has anyone shaved their head?
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Hi Curlycued,

I would recommend you see a mental specialist. No, it doesn't mean you are crazy, not at all, but trichotillomania is part of an impulse disorder which could be part of a more serious disorder known as OCD.

With therapy and medication it can be solved easily, in fact, therapy itself can suffice.

If I can help out let me know.

Roy
I shaved my head when I was 38 and had just become a grandmother. I was under so much stress that I was killing my hair!

I loved my buzz cut, but eventually I let it grow back.

The next time my trich got out of hand, I found this site and it has helped tremendously with my habit of pulling out wild, thick, really curly hairs.

My sister has had bald spots for 30 years from trichotillomania and my daughter pulls out her eyelashes and eyebrows. I've come to know that it is and OCD. There also seems to be an inherited component.

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