Hair-Pulling (Trichotillomania) Disorder

In hair-pulling disorder, individuals repeatedly pull their hair out, resulting in hair loss.

  • Individuals with hair-pulling disorder may feel tense or anxious just before they pull their hair out, and the hair pulling may relieve that feeling.
  • Symptoms typically vary in intensity but may continue throughout life.
  • Medical professionals diagnose the disorder if people compulsively pull out enough hair to cause hair loss, try to stop pulling out their hair and cannot, and are significantly distressed by their behaviour or function less well because of it.
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy that specifically focuses on hair-pulling disorder and certain antidepressants or other drugs may help control symptoms.

Hair-pulling is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Individuals with this disorder compulsively pull or pluck out their hair for non-cosmetic reasons.

That is, they do not pull hair out to improve their appearance.

They usually pull hair from their scalp, eyebrows, and/or eyelids, but any body hair may be pulled out.

Hair pulling typically begins just before or after puberty.

About 1 to 2% of individuals have hair-pulling disorder.

About 90% of adults with hair-pulling disorder are female.

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