Are you struggling to stop trichotillomania, also known as compulsive hair pulling? Well, you are not the first, and the good news is that, while difficult, you can overcome hair pulling!
When I was younger, my eyelash pulling habit and the lack of eyelashes made me feel like a freak. I felt like I was the only person who would pull out their own eyelashes. Time and again, I made resolutions to stop the hair pulling urge. It wasn’t until I learned that I was suffering from a very real medical condition known as trichotillomania, that I realized that I was not alone. That set me off on a journey to better understand this condition and gather knowledge on how to control my eyelash pulling urges.
If you are looking for coping strategies for managing compulsive hair pulling triggers, you have come to the right page.
This post outlines strategies for coping strategies for hair pulling. Let’s dive in.
Managing Compulsive Hair Pulling Through Therapy
Trichotillomania is in the family of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD) and therefore sufferers can benefit from psychotherapy and behavioral therapy as effective strategies for managing hair pulling triggers.
Depending on the approach, therapy treatment can uncover what’s behind hair pulling and provide the best strategies to end the problematic behavior. More often than not, a mix of methods, and a personalized approach has the best results. That is certainly the strategy that worked for me.
Here is an overview of the helpful therapy options for managing trichotillomania:
Habit Reversal Training (HRT)
HRT is the primary psychotherapy treatment for trichotillomania.
Developed in the 20th century, HRT helps treat repetitive behaviors like nail biting, pulling, and skin picking.
Habit reversal training focuses on specific events and situations like hair pulling.
The treatment option teaches the affected person how to recognize thoughts and feelings before hair pulling so they substitute those feelings and thoughts for alternatives.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) For Trichotillomania
CBT is a behavior therapy that effectively treats repetitive behaviors like hair pulling. Behavioral therapy focuses on helping patients change their attitudes and behaviors.
The strategy starts by helping the patient notice, explore, and change thoughts that result in hair pulling.
With CBT, the patient accepts the itchy feeling and lets it be instead of pulling hair.
Mostly accepted by scientists and researchers, cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective strategies for managing trichotillomania.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is another therapy treatment focusing on helping break the craving to pull hair and the act of pulling. The goal of ACT is to accept the disorder and then commit to eliminating it.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps you learn to tolerate the urge without acting against the goal of stopping it.
Medications To Cope With Compulsive Hair Pulling
While psychotherapy and behavioral therapy can be effective coping strategies for trichotillomania, some patients may require medical intervention.
Although the FDA has not approved any trichotillomania treatment medicine, ongoing studies have revealed that some medications used for mental conditions might help patients with trichotillomania.
Antidepressants and some antipsychotics can sometimes reduce the hair pulling impulse. However, taking medications should be the last result and be prescribed by a qualified physician.
NAC amino acids for hair pulling are also being researched, and have been found to help approximately 50% of trich sufferers.
Using Essential Oils for Managing Trichotillomania
Many people have reported the benefits of using essential oils to stop hair pulling.
The essential oils not only alleviate hair pulling problems but also promote skin health and hair growth, which is important for treating the condition as well as managing the damage of hair pulling.
For instance, castor oil moisturizes your skin, reducing the itchy urge, often resulting in hair pulling. Thus, eliminating the itchy skin may be possible to help alleviate trichotillomania triggers.
On the other hand, rosemary oil promotes cleaner and healthier skin and also eliminates scents caused by clogged pores and sweat. Clogged pores and sweat can bring about the hair-pulling urge.
Therefore, using rosemary oil to achieve cleaner and healthier skin is a great strategy for reducing or alleviating hair pulling disorders.
Lavender oil promotes hair growth, which is essential for strengthening the hair. Stronger hair means fewer breakages, while better hair growth fights baldness.
In that regard, if you are wondering how to stop hair pulling, you may start applying essential oils as an effective strategy for stopping hair pulling urge. You may be surprised how calming the essential oils can be in stopping the problematic condition.
Overcoming trichotillomania requires reflection and self-exploration to unveil what drives the habit.
Hypnosis is an effective strategy for overcoming the urge to pull hair, which works with the part of the mind responsible for pulling hair and eventually helps one stop the harmful habit.
Hypnosis triggers a relaxation response, helping the patient to cope with the stress that often results to hair pulling.
The patient achieves the relaxation response, shifting the mindset to a calmer state much faster. Another coping strategy associated with hypnosis is positive self-talk, which helps the patients feel better and stay calm.
Trichotillomania triggers can be resolved using hypnosis by reducing its triggers’ effects and employing an alternative self-soothing strategy.
Wearing a Wig or a Hat, or Using Gloves
Wearing a wig or a hat is one of the tips for coping with the hair pulling urge, and gloves can help for eyelash and eyebrow pulling. Covering your natural hair helps break the pulling routines, and makes pulling difficult, which is often more effective if you employ alternative therapy.
For instance, if you are applying behavioral therapy or psychotherapy, you may want to wear a hat, wig or gloves to boost your ability to stop trichotillomania.
Compulsive hair pulling is a medical condition and a behavior, and learning how to manage is an important part of successful treatment. We have highlighted various approaches to help you cope with hair pulling.
It’s important to understand that change starts with acknowledging that your hair pulling is a bona fide medical condition and you must treat it like one. Once you have accepted your condition, use the above coping strategies.
Essential oils will keep your hair clean and stronger and promote hair regrowth. Try using coping strategies and essential oils to fight hair pulling faster and more effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to stop compulsive hair pulling?
Yes, with appropriate treatment and support, while difficult to completely eradicate the condition, it is possible to manage and reduce the symptoms of trichotillomania effectively.
What causes compulsive hair pulling?
The exact cause of trichotillomania is unknown, but factors like genetic predisposition, chemical imbalances in the brain, and stress or anxiety can contribute to its development.
How do you deal with trichotillomania?
Treatment options for trichotillomania may include therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy), medication, habit-reversal training, and applying essential oils. A personalized approach is often effective in managing symptoms.