Trichotillomania, a chemical imbalance occurring inside the human brain resulting to a disorder that involves constant pulling of one’s body hair. The word comes from three Greek words, “thrix” for hair, “tillein” for to pull and “mania” for madness or frenzy. People who suffer from this condition should know that this is no habit for it is considered as a compulsive behavior which is very challenging to stop and which entails health issues.
Trichotillomaniacs can pull their hair from almost every area in the body – from eyebrows, eyelashes to scalp and even in the private areas of the body. Afflicted people can pull one hair at a time or can pull a handful of hairs at once leaving bald spots on those said areas. After pulling these hairs strands, other patients tend to spend some time looking into those hairs and sometimes they play on it. Almost 50 percent of those people experiencing this type of condition puts the hair they plucked on their mouths.
Trichotillomania was defined and explained medically first by Francois Hallopeau, a French physician in 1889 though there have been some earlier historical documentations about this said disorder. This condition is uncommon, affecting only 1-3% among the general population. However, recent studies suggest that this hair-pulling disorder has increased up to 10%.
The above mentioned disorder usually develops during the adolescent stage however, it is said that even a one year old child can start showing signs of these rare disorder. Trichotillomania occurs mostly in girls for they are said to be affected twice compared to boys.
Because of the patches created due to constant pulling of hair, people with this condition usually wear toupees, wigs, scarves, clips, hats, and other accessories to cover those affected areas. Others may result in tattooing and applying make-ups in order to conceal those spots. This condition often leads to other problems like depression, shame, embarrassment and frustration for those involved.
There is no sufficient data as why trichotillomania occurs. Some say that it’s all in the genes and that it runs in the blood. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, believe that this disorder may akin or part of another disorder – obsessive compulsive disorders since anxiety has something to do with both OCD and trichotillomania. This utterance is also based on the fact that most attacks of hair pulling happen when the person is under stress out or something is bothering the patient.
As said earlier, trichotillomania is linked with some chemical imbalances happening inside the brain. Such chemicals, medically termed as neutrotransmitters plays a big role when it comes transporting information and other communication to/from the brain from the rest of the body. When certain factors, such as stress, happen, there is a change in the level of certain neurotransmitters which in turn, can result to serious conditions such as compulsive behaviors one of which is the topic mentioned in this article.
Trichotillomania is one of those conditions that can’t be treated without some medical intervention. You need the help and advice of medical experts since this is not something that you can just resolve if you don’t like doing it. The urges need careful therapy and/or strict medication compliance in order to be controlled and eventually, stopped.
In addition to the mentioned approaches earlier, special psychological techniques can also be of great help. With this, affected individuals can learn strategies to stop the urges before they finally become uncontrollable. And most importantly, if the individual knows how to defy then eventually, the impulse becomes less strong and then finally goes away in time.
Some activities that people may find relieving during attacks are squeezing stress balls and even drawing. It is important that their hands will be busy especially during urges in order for them to resist pulling hair our from their bodies. Aside from these, others find it also helpful to engage in knitting and even watching televisions in order to divert attention.