Trichotillomania is a disorder of compulsive hair pulling that often results in alopecia, (loss of scalp hair, sometimes resulting in baldness). The clinical features include the pulling of hair from the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes, sometimes symmetrically; pubic and other bodily hair may also be plucked. The majority of sufferers who seek treatment are female, with usual age of onset between 11 and 16 years.
Despite its occurrence in up to 4% of adults, hair-pulling disorder or trichotillomania (TTM) is often under-diagnosed and inappropriately treated.
The symptoms of trichotillomania generally appear before the age of 17 and commonly include:
- Recurrent hair pulling resulting in noticeable hair loss, unrelated to baldness or alopecia
- Bare patches of skin in the hair or at the hairline that are uneven
- Constant pulling, tugging or twisting of hair
- Experiencing pleasure, excitement or relief when pulling out hair
- Embarrassment, guilt or shame due to hair loss
- Denial of hair pulling and a sense of building tension before the pulling begins
- Some people eat some or all of the hair, stroke, count, store or fiddle with the hair after pulling
- Problems at home, school or work
- Engaging in other forms of self-injurious behaviour
The disorder is often associated with:
- Low self-esteem
- Shyness or an inability to get close to people
- An obsession with physical appearance
- Difficulty expressing strong emotions, such as anger
- Adolescents may be unwilling to go without make-up or spend a significant amount of time styling their hair to cover signs of hair loss
- Reluctance to visit hairdressers
What these associated conditions have in common is that they are almost always linked to subconscious triggers that the hair puller may not even be aware of at a conscious level
This is why hypnotherapy is exremely effective in the treatment of hair pulling disorder.
Using hypnosis and working directly with the subconscious, I can uncover and address the triggers, the underlying causes of the hair pulling.
Once these triggers are dealt with the powerful urge that drives hair pulling disappears resulting in a usually permanent end to the problem.