I would like to talk about Trichotillomania. It is a condition which involves a person feeling compelled to pull their hair out either on their head or other places such as eyebrows or eyelashes.
I’ve seen a few people with this condition and it can be very distressing. Mostly the hair pulling comes about due to an intense feeling to want to pull, however I worked with one young lady who did it almost unknowingly like a bad habit such as nail biting, so she was completely unaware of how much hair she had pulled out at any one time.
It can leave someone feeling guilty, embarrassed, ashamed and lead to low self esteem due to feeling unattractive.
There can be various reasons why someone does it, it can be a type of addiction, but from my experiences it was mainly linked to a way of relieving stress or anxiety and therefore there were underlying mental health problems at play. It can also be considered a form of self harm as a way of seeking temporary relief from emotional distress.
Whatever the reason, the most effective treatment is psychotherapy. In particular, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) may be able to help as it looks to try and manage the problem by changing how you think and behave and work towards habit-reversal whilst also developing alternative coping mechanisms to whatever problems lead to the hair pulling in the first place.
Emotional support is also important because if you have Trichotillomania, it’s likely you are experiencing emotional distress. There are a number of regional supports groups available: www.trichotillomania.co.uk, has more information.
Please contact me if you are experiencing this condition and would like therapeutic support.