What is Trichotillomania?

What is Trichotillomania, otherwise known as “Trich”?

Trichotillomania is classified as an impulse control disorder.  People who suffer from this hair pulling disorder have the uncontrollable urge to pull out hair from their scalp or other parts of their body. Hair pullers are unable to stop this behavior, even as their hair becomes thinner and results in noticeable bald patches. It is more than just a nervous habit, which can be controlled through simple will power.  This repetitive behavior is often self-destructive and distressing to the sufferer. Hair pulling is not limited to the scalp.  Hair pullers also tend to pluck eyelashes, eyebrows, or body hair.  Most often patients pull hairs one-by-one, often targeting hair of a specific color or texture.  Similar body focused-repetitive behaviors include skin picking, lip biting and nail biting.  Despite the desire to quit harming their bodies in such a way, people who suffer from Trichotillomania have a hard time controlling these urges.  This not only results in physical impairments but also significant emotional distress.  It is by no means a patient’s fault for being unable to control such behavior.  In fact, two to ten million Americans suffer from Trichotillomania and hair pulling disorders, and many more around the world.

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