What you need to know about Trichotillomania
Updated: Mar 7
Trichotillomania is a condition where sufferers have a compulsion to pull their hair out, usually as a way of soothing themselves when they feel stressed or upset. People can suffer for years before they feel comfortable enough to seek help, and the effects of the condition can be devastating. Chronic hair pulling can cause infection, skin damage, and permanent hair loss, as well as problems with self-esteem and body image.
Around 60% of my clients are affected by Trichotillomania, ranging from 13-year-old girls to women in their 60’s and I feel really passionate about helping them to open up about their condition, especially when they fear being judged. I’m also very proud to say that I’ve been able to help many clients recover from years of hair pulling, not just by providing hair systems, but by being there to support and understand them.
What causes Trichotillomania?
The exact cause of the condition isn’t known, but research suggests that abnormalities in the brain’s pathways, especially those that regulate emotions and control impulses may be to blame. It’s also known that trichotillomania is linked to depression and anxiety.
The importance of proper treatment
While I can certainly help in terms of providing clients with hair integration systems or hair replacement, using these alone is simply not enough. Trichotillomania is a complex condition, and the root cause needs to be found. Whether it’s stress, depression, anxiety, or trauma that causes someone to pull out their hair, this needs to be treated with appropriate behavioural therapy like CBT. Sufferers also need plenty of emotional support to encourage them to open up about their condition, and to work through any feelings of embarrassment or shame.
An amazing success story
My first ever client was a lady who had suffered from this devastating condition since she was just five years old. At the age of 11, she was seeing psychiatrists, but none of them diagnosed the problem. As she got older, the problem got worse, and she felt more and more compelled to pull her hair out. People would stare at her and make jokes about her having no hair which she found very upsetting. She was even accused of pulling her hair out to get attention.
After 30 years of suffering, I was able to help her get on the road to recovery, by providing her with a hair system, and some much-needed support and understanding. As her hair began to grow back, so did her confidence, and I worked closely with her until she didn’t need the system or my help anymore. She’s gone on to set up a Facebook group for people with Trichotillomania to raise awareness and to help sufferers to feel comfortable talking about their condition. You can read the full story here.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel
People suffering from trichotillomania often can’t imagine a time when they’ll have a head of beautiful healthy hair, and when they’ll be able to feel confident and ‘normal.’ But I truly believe that with treatments like CBT, a hair system, and an understanding stylist, they can have all of that and more.
Do you suffer from trichotillomania? Contact me to arrange a consultation to find out how I can help you.