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Mental Health

When People Pull out Their Hair – The Facts About Trichotillomania


Trichotillomania, often referred to as ‘hair-pulling disorder,’ is a complex and often misunderstood condition. It’s not just the act itself, but also the emotions and challenges they face. Some might misunderstand or judge those who experience it. In this article, we’ll shed light on this condition, offering understanding and a ray of hope.

Understanding Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is when someone can’t stop themselves from pulling out their hair. It’s not just a simple habit; it’s tied to strong feelings and thoughts inside. It’s a real mental health issue and affects many people.

Who Gets Affected by Trichotillomania?

About 1-2% of people have this hair-pulling issue, and it seems to happen more in women. Many start facing it during their teenage years, a time when they’re already dealing with lots of other changes in life.

Where Do People Pull Hair From?

Even though it’s called a hair-pulling issue, it’s not just about the hair on the head. People might also pull out their eyebrows, eyelashes, or hair from other body parts. Some might pull out hair quickly without thinking, while others might spend a lot of time doing it each day.

Why Do People Pull Their Hair?

Figuring out why someone pulls their hair isn’t easy. For some, it feels like a short break from tough feelings or worries. Some might even feel a bit better after doing it. Interestingly, not everyone realizes they’re doing it. While some know and feel every time they pull their hair, others seem to be lost in their thoughts.

The Emotional Ups and Downs

People with trichotillomania often feel really bad about themselves, feeling guilty and embarrassed. Because of these feelings, they might avoid spending time with others and choose to be alone. This loneliness can make them feel even more down or worried. Many studies show that most of these people feel more anxious because of their condition. This becomes a tough cycle: feeling anxious makes them pull their hair more, which then makes them even more anxious.

The Physical Side of Things

Trichotillomania doesn’t just affect how someone feels, but also how they look. If someone keeps pulling out their hair, they might end up with bald spots or areas with very thin hair. These changes can make someone feel even worse about themselves.

Pulling hair all the time can cause other issues too. For example, if someone pulls their hair a lot, their scalp can get infected or become really sore. And if they pull out their eyelashes often, they might get an eye condition called blepharitis. Some people even eat the hair they pull out, which can upset their stomachs.

Finding Help and Healing

Even though hair-pulling can be tough to deal with, it’s good to know there’s help out there. Some therapists really know how to help people with this issue. They use proven methods to teach ways to cope and understand what’s causing the urge to pull hair.

For some people, medicine can really help lower the strong feeling of pulling their hair. Also, talking with others going through the same thing can make a big difference. It’s comforting to know others understand and you’re not facing this all by yourself.

Recognizing Trichotillomania Early On

Spotting trichotillomania early can make a big difference. Parents, teachers, or close friends should be alert to the signs, especially since this often begins during the teenage years. Keep an eye out for areas of missing hair, teens constantly fiddling with their hair, or avoiding activities where their hair could be seen, such as swimming or being outside on windy days.

What’s Really Going On Inside

Trichotillomania isn’t just about pulling hair out. It’s tied to feelings and thoughts deep inside a person. Some people pull their hair when they’re trying to feel better or deal with big feelings. Others might do it because they feel like some hairs just don’t belong or aren’t right and need to be taken out.

Technological Interventions

In our digital age, technology offers potential avenues of support. There are apps and wearables designed to help those with trichotillomania. Some wearable devices vibrate to alert the user when they start to move their hand towards their hair, helping them become more aware of their actions. Apps might offer tracking mechanisms, allowing individuals to document their hair-pulling episodes, triggers, and progress.

The Role of Support Groups

Being part of a group, whether on the internet or face-to-face, can really help. In these groups, people talk about what they’re going through, share tips, and lift each other up. It feels good to know others understand what you’re facing.

Trying Different Healing Methods

Besides usual treatments and pills, some people with trichotillomania try other healing methods. Things like yoga and calming exercises can help them feel relaxed and control the need to pull hair. Some also find drawing, playing music, or spending time with pets helpful to keep their mind off pulling hair.

Building Awareness and Understanding

A lot of people with trichotillomania feel misunderstood because many folks don’t really know what it is. There are a lot of wrong ideas out there about this problem. It’s really important to teach people about it in places like schools, offices, and neighborhoods. The more everyone learns about it, the better they can support and care for those dealing with it.

Looking Forward

People are still studying trichotillomania to learn more about it. Researchers are trying to figure out why it happens and how best to help those who have it. Every new piece of information brings us closer to helping better.


Understanding trichotillomania means looking at feelings, actions, and how they affect the body. Even though it’s tough, many people get through it with the right help and support from others. If you or someone you know faces this issue, always remember: asking for help shows how strong and self-aware you really are.