Trichotillomania: When You Can't Stop Pulling Your Hair Out
You don't know why you do it, but somehow, you cannot resist the urge to pull out your own hair when you feel stress. As a child, you remember not being able to sleep unless you fiddle with your tresses. Soon, you discovered the gratification of pulling out your hair strands. It calms your nerves. It pleases you. Except that when you regain your senses, you are left with a balding spot on your head. You need help.
What is Trichotillomania?
Trichotillomania refers to the compulsive behavior to pull out one's hair. It is a common cause of alopecia or hair loss, particularly among children, at which age the habit usually begins. More common among women, trichotillomania is usually in response to a stressful life situation. Moreover, patients are usually aware of what they are doing, they just can't control it.
As high as 10% of the population engage in hair-pulling at some point in their lives, but only about 1 in 100 children and adolescents have the disorder. In severe cases, patients also swallow the hair they pull out of their heads. This may lead to complications that require surgery.
Hair loss from Trichotillomania
If you suffer from trichotillomania, your scalp will show a bizarre hair loss pattern. The most common area affected is the crown, although you may pull out hair from more than one site. Irregular and angular borders are immediately noticeable. Most of the time, the affected areas aren't always completely bald. You may see strands of hair broken at varying lengths and signs of pulling the scalp such as redness, swelling, and pinpoint bleeding.
Once the hair-pulling behavior is controlled, your hair loss is reversible. You just have to wait for your hair to return to its normal growth cycle. However, repetitive injury to your hair follicles may lead to scarring and cause you to lose hair permanently.
Cure for Trichotillomania
You have to accept that you have a problem and that you need help. This is the first step to curing trichotillomania and the hair loss that goes with it. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have a psychiatric illness (less than 5% do). You just need to find positive ways of coping with stress. In addition to counseling, your doctor may prescribe anti-depressants to help control your hair-pulling behavior.
You may be devastated by your balding head, more so when you keep blaming yourself for it. You may also be worried about other people finding out about your problem. These feelings are understandable, but now is the time to stop. The added stress will only worsen your hair loss problem.
You should know that there are several hair loss options out there. Consult your trusted hair specialist on which one would suit you best. Since you only expect your hair loss to be temporary, you may opt to try the latest hair replacement technology. It allows the client to look like he or she has a normal head of hair, even while they are undergoing treatment.