COVID-19 is a tough time for everyone. But for those with conditions like skin picking or hair pulling, COVID and trichtotillomania is an especially challenging situation.
COVID and trichotillomania create a perfect storm
Daily, hourly messages are telling us to stay isolated, to stop touching our faces and are creating an atmosphere rife with anxiety. For those suffereing from behavioiral disorders, like Body Focussed Repetitive Disorders, and specifically with trichotillomania, these are the three biggest buttons you can push! This is a perfect storm for eyelash and hair pulling.
Living with trichotillomania in the midst of a pandemic only adds to isolation, frustration and fear around being unable to “just stop” pulling.
Social isolation, COVID and hair pulling
Social isolation is the optimum environment for the cycle of trichotillomania. Being stuck at home could likely mean more pulling, and more hiding, further increasing the severity of hair pulling, and hair loss, depression, anxiety and sense of worthlessness.
What is more, when the social restrictions are lifted, this will cause further worry, particularly if individuals have done a lot of hair pulling in isolation. Reconnecting will be a source of dread.
How to deal with COVID and hair pulling?
Firstly those that suffer from hair pulling should try to reduce any social isolation. While difficult in an pandemic, be active in virtual groups, whether specifically aimed at COVID and trichtillomania sufferers, or merely an online group of a subject that you might be interested in. There are many online curse, free activities and chat groups opening up as a response to the pandemic.
Secondly, trich sufferers should double down on their trichotillomania treatments. Even if they have not noticed their condition worsening, in a preventative measure, individuals should begin rereading any resources that have given support in the past, reinstate habit busters.
Thirdly, hair pullers should focus on maintaining healthy habits such as a healthy diet, regular exercise and reduced alcohol intake.
Anxiety, COVID and trichotillomania
Those with BFRBs may suffer from anxiety and depression already. With the increased uncertainty and dramatic media, anxiety may peak. This may cause hair pulling behaviors to increase. But with some thought and preparation individuals can deal with COVID and hair pulling.
How to deal with hair pulling during COVID-19
- Understand the Corona virus, the risks, and what you should be doing. This will help relieve the anxiety which can exacerbate hair pulling.
- Minimize media time, that will only increase anxiety and contribute to hair pulling.
- Do regular yoga, meditation and breathing exercises.
- Don’t let yourself become isolated and join support groups for trich such as those on the TLC Foundation list or unrelated groups in an area that interests you.
- Stay healthy by watching your diet, alcohol consumption and make sure to get enough exercise. Exercise reduces stress and a healthy diet will help with mood swings.
- Try different tips for hair pulling during COVID and see how others are dealing with trichtotillomania in the pandemic
How do you deal with COVID and hair pulling? Add your tips in the comments below.