Define of Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling Disorder) | Symptoms & Causes


Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh), commonly known as hair-pulling disorder, is a mental condition characterised by recurring, irrepressible desires to remove hair from your scalp, eyebrows, or other parts of your body despite your best efforts to stop. Pulling hair from the scalp frequently results in patchy bald patches, which can be distressing and impede with social or occupational performance. Trichotillomaniacs will go to considerable measures to conceal their hair loss.

Trichotillomania is a condition that affects certain people but is usually minor and treatable. Others find it difficult to resist the temptation to pluck hair. Many people have been able to lessen or stop tugging their hair with the aid of certain treatment methods.

Trichotillomania (TTM), commonly known as hairpulling disorder or compulsive hairpulling, is a psychiatric condition marked by a long-term impulse to pull one’s hair out. This happens to the point that hair loss is visible. As hair is removed, a momentary good feeling may arise, but most attempts to quit plucking hair fail. Hair removal can occur everywhere, although it is most prevalent on the head and around the eyes. The hairpulling has reached a point where it is causing distress.

TTM is a condition that can be passed down across generations. Pulling episodes may be caused by worry, and the disorder is more frequent in those who have obsessive-compulsive disorder or anxiety disorders. When people admit to pulling their hair, broken hairs might be observed on examination. Body dysmorphic disorder, for example, is a condition in which people remove their hair to correct what they perceive to be a flaw in their appearance.

Trichotillomania affects anywhere from 1% to 4% of the population. Trichotillomania affects between 0.6 and 4.0 percent of the population during their lifetime. 2.5 million persons in the United States may have trichotillomania at some point in their lives, based on a 1% prevalence rate. Childhood or adolescent are the most prevalent onset years for trichotillomania. About ten times more women than males are afflicted.

What Is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a condition in which a person has an uncontrollable impulse to pull or yank at their own hair. This is referred to as a body-focused repetitive activity, and it usually includes hair on the scalp or on the face, including the eyelashes and eyebrows.

Some people simply remove their eyelashes from one eyelid, while others pull them from both the top and bottom lids of both eyes. People who pull their lashes out often also pluck their brows. They might do it consciously to relieve tension or discomfort, or they can do it unconsciously without recognising it.


People who pluck their eyelashes out may do other things with their lashes or brow hair in some circumstances. They could, for example, twist their hair between their fingers or eat their lashes. The desire to pluck one’s eyelashes may be fairly controllable for some people. Others find it difficult to resist the desire to pluck their eyelashes.

Hair plucking problem usually starts when a person is between the ages of 9 and 13. When bored or nervous, a person may pluck his or her hair or eyelashes. A stressful event like a funeral, abuse, or conflict might potentially set it off. In general, if the problem is not addressed, hair pulling is a lifelong affliction that comes and goes. It’s a mental health problem that won’t go away without help.

Who is affected by Trichotillomania?

Up to 4% of the general population is thought to be affected by trichotillomania. It can afflict both men and women of any age, although it is more prevalent in youngsters than in adults. Peak onset is most common in pre-school and early adolescence, generally around puberty.

Trichotillomania affects both boys and girls equally in youngsters, although it is more common in females as they become older. It’s unclear if this is due to the fact that women are more inclined to seek help. Hair pulling can also be disguised as male pattern baldness and by shaving.

Risk Factors

Trichotillomania affects more females than boys. Children with OCD, as well as those with OCD in first-degree relatives, are more prone to acquire the disorder. Hair pulling can be done to relieve discomfort or anxiety; nevertheless, it is a cyclical problem since hair itches as it regrows, prompting youngsters to continue pulling their hair to prevent discomfort.


Typical trichotillomania signs and symptoms include:

  • Pulling your hair out repeatedly, usually from your scalp, brows, or eyelashes, but occasionally from other body regions, and the locations may change over time.
  • Tension builds up before you pull, or as you try to avoid pulling.
  • After the hair is removed, there is a feeling of joy or relaxation.
  • Hair loss visible on the scalp or other parts of the body, such as shorter hair or thinned or bald regions, including sparse or absent eyelashes or eyebrows.

Hair pulling is common in the following areas:

  • Scalp
  • Eyebrows
  • Eyelashes
  • Beards
  • Pubic hair is a kind of pubic hair that grows

Among the signs and symptoms of trichotillomania are:

  • Yanking hair out repeatedly
  • Removing strands of hair
  • Hair-eating (trichophagy)
  • After taking off the hair, i felt relieved

Trichotillomania sufferers may encounter the following negative effects over time:

  • Itchiness or tingling at the hair-pulling spot
  • Bald patches
  • Hair thinning
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Social phobia


Nobody knows what causes trichotillomania in certain people. Stress might be a factor. Genes, too, might play a role. Trichotillomania is more prone to develop in those who have other obsessive behaviours or OCD. Experts believe that the impulse to pluck hair stems from a malfunction of the brain’s chemical messengers (called neurotransmitters). This causes people to have uncontrollable desires to pull their hair out.

Pulling one’s hair provides a sense of relaxation or satisfaction. The stronger the habit grows, the more the person gives in to the impulse by tugging and enjoys the momentary sensation of relief afterwards. The longer this goes on, the more difficult it becomes to resist the impulse when it occurs again.



If signs of trichotillomania, such as patches of hair loss, are present, a diagnosis of trichotillomania may be indicated. A comprehensive clinical assessment, a complete patient history, and a range of tests that can rule out other reasons of hair loss can all help to make a diagnosis. Because many people are ashamed or embarrassed to tell about their hair pulling habits, a diagnosis is sometimes ignored.


There is a scarcity of research on trichotillomania therapy. Some therapeutic methods, on the other hand, have helped many people lessen or stop pulling their hair.


The following therapies may be beneficial for trichotillomania:

  • Reversal training is a technique for changing one’s habits. The primary treatment for trichotillomania is behaviour therapy. You’ll learn how to spot circumstances when you’re likely to rip your hair out and how to replace them with alternate actions. To assist halt the impulse, you might tighten your fists or redirect your hand from your hair to your ear. Along with habit reversal training, other therapy may be employed.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy This treatment can assist you in identifying and examining any erroneous thoughts you may have about hair pulling.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on This treatment can help you acknowledge your desires to pull your hair without acting on them.
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