Written by: Neta Weber, M.S., LAPC, NCC, CCH
People who suffer from trichotillomania repeatedly pull out their own hair. This can be hair from the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, or other parts of the body. Trichotillomania often results in significant, visible hair loss. Individuals who suffer from trichotillomania tend to describe a strong, irresistible urge to pull out their hair. An urge so strong that many struggle unsuccessfully with repeated attempts to stop the hair pulling. In addition to the frustration experienced by those struggling with trichotillomania, shame and isolation often result in additional emotional distress, which can lead to depression and/or anxiety.
An estimated 2% - 5% of the general public suffers from trichotillomania, which typically begins when the individual is between 11 and 15 years of age. Trichotillomania is currently classified as an “Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorder” in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is part of a group of conditions known as Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs), which includes skin picking and nail biting and other self-grooming behaviors that result in damage to the body.
According to the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and more specifically the Comprehensive Behavioral model (ComB), developed by Dr. Charles Mansueto and his colleagues, is the treatment of choice for trichotillomania and other BFRBs.
- A. (n.d.). What is Trichotillomania? - The TLC Foundation for BFRBs. Retrieved September 09, 2016, from https://www.bfrb.org/learn-about-bfrbs/trichotillomania
- Golomb, R., Franklin, M., Grant, J. E., Keuthen, N. J., Mansueto, C. S., Mouton-Odum, S., . . . Woods, W. (2016). Expert Consensus Treatment Guidelines Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors Hair Pulling, Skin Picking, and Related Disorders [Pamphlet].