Trichotillomania???? Whats that?


You see this big word and wonder what the heck could this mean??

You ever see someone just playing with their hair? fiddling with it? Pulling it?

Trichotillomania is actually a Hair pulling disorder. According to mayo clinic Trichotillomania is a disorder that ” involves recurrent urges to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows or other areas of the body despite trying to stop.”(mayo clinic). This disorder can be a minor one and for some people it can become a very serious condition.  When this disorder becomes a serious one it can cause people to have bald spots on their heads or just a complete loss of their hair in places such as their eyebrows and eye lashes.

According to web Md they say” that this type of disorder is called a impulse control disorder”. (Web Md). An impulse disorder is basically a disorder where a person cannot resist to do something to themselves, and sometimes what they are doing can be very harmful to them but it does not matter to them.  Some kinds of impulse control disorders can deal with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders etc.

Getting back to trichotillomania, some say it is hard to say what the true cause of this disorder is, but many say it can be caused from stress. When a person becomes too stressed out, they might want to find a way to calm themselves down, and try to relieve the stress a bit. Some of the symptoms that a person shows if they have this disorder “are repeated hair pulling,  feeling relief after pulling out the hair, having just the urge to pull,  chewing hair, or eating hair, hair is beginning to thin, bald spots.” ( Web Md.). According to mayo clinic when a person has trichotillomania they can be either focused when they pull their hair or the hair pulling can be automatic. This pretty much means when a person is focused they try to find a certain piece of hair to pull, a particular one that they will  take the time out to search for then pull. When a person is automatic they just pull any hair that they can, not thinking about the kind of hair or anything. Some of the problems that come with this order not only with hair loss etc, is self esteem problems. Many people with this disorder tend to become depressed and upset, because of how they look after the hair pulling. With this disorder, sometimes a person really cannot control themselves and this can lead to the self esteem problems, by the way person feels about how they look.

My roommate actually thinks that she has this disorder so I talked to her about it.  She says she believes she does it because of stress, or when she is just bored. She says shes been doing this for years and never noticed for a long time until she realized that her hair was breaking off, and becoming very short.  She says she tends to pull her hair from certain parts of her head. She pulls from either the two sides of her head, or the back of her head, and that’s where hair is actually the shortest. I believe she is somewhat of a focused hair puller then. One day I just observed her without her knowing just to see what she was doing. I observed one night when she was studying for a test, when she was just watching tv, and when some of our other friends were over. On the night she was studying for her test she was pulling hair for about 30 minutes on and off. On the night she was watching television, she was pulling her hair around the time when a commercial came on. On the night we had other friends over I saw that she really didn’t pull her at all. These were just observations, and from them I realized that when she was more occupied with things she liked such as watching her show, or talking with our friends, she didnt really pull her hair. When it came to studying for her test, or just being annoyed by a commercial, I saw that’s when she pulled her hair the most. So basically stress, or being bored is what I believe is causing her to pull her hair, and being occupied with something she likes makes her not pull or do little pulling to her hair. Occupying a person with something else is what a lot of people say will help them not have the impulse to do certain things, but on the other hand what if the persons disorder is so bad that there really isn’t any way to control it?

I know for myself personally I can find myself messing around with my hair. Most of the time I do it when my either really needs to be done, or when I  just get my hair done. I believe  its kind of hard to diagnose some people  with this disorder because, a lot of people just touch their hair, and twirl their hair around, but I think when they really start to pull their hair to the point of a bald spot, or hair problems that’s when it can be really diagnosed.

Overall Trichotillomania is a very interesting disorder to me. The next time you start to touch your hair, see exactly what you are doing to your hair….


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