Hair Loss

What Is Trichotillomania? Causes and Treatments

Have you ever noticed someone pulling their hair uncontrollably, perhaps unaware they’re doing it? They could have trichotillomania. Also called TTM or trich, trichotillomania is an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that causes the individual to pull their hair excessively. This can lead to hair loss and emotional distress, so recognizing trich symptoms can help sufferers get the treatment they need.

Trichotillomania: The Basics

All forms of OCD are a compulsion to do something that the individual cannot control. Trich is no different. Anyone with TTM pulls their hair and can’t help it. This can be hair on the:




Beard or mustache

Pubic region

Legs or arms

They may pull out hair until the area is bald. This hair-pulling can irritate skin and leave red patches, causing physical discomfort and distress when dealing with social situations. Friends and family members may notice that the hair-pulling gets worse in stressful situations.

Up to two percent of the population may experience TTM, although it tends to be more prevalent in children and young adults.

What Causes Trichotillomania?

There may be not one but several causes. TTM may become more severe in women during certain parts of their menstrual cycle and during pregnancy, suggesting hormonal changes can trigger this condition.

TTM often has a connection to other mental health conditions, including other forms of OCD, anxiety, and depression. There could be a link to different neurotypes as well. For example, some autistic people or those with ADHD may be more prone to trich, but this isn’t always the case.

Someone pulling their hair may also:

Play with hair or rub it on the face

Explore the feeling and texture of hair

Experience tension that can only be dealt with by pulling the hair. This may stem from negative emotional states such as stress or even boredom.

Treating and Preventing Trichotillomania

Treatment for trich is essential to prevent hair loss, distress, and pain. A doctor may recommend therapy including:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Habit reversal therapy

Relaxation and mindfulness techniques

Self-awareness techniques

If you think you compulsively pull your hair or know someone with unexplainable hair loss, speak to a professional or encourage that person to do so. Getting the right help could help make day-to-day life much easier.

If you are experiencing the devastating effects of hair loss and would like to learn more about the different wig options available to you, please request a free private, confidential consultation with a trained Transitions professional hair loss specialist. To find a location near you click here.

Photo Credit: Counselling Via Pixabay


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You can follow a few hair hygiene tips to make your hair less likely to fall out: Avoid hairstyles that pull on the hair - Avoid high-heat hair styling tools - Don't chemically treat or bleach your hair - Use a shampoo that's mild and suited for your hair - Use a soft brush made from natural fibers - Try low-level light therapy.

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