Trichotillomania is categorised as an impulse control disorder wherein sufferers have the irresistible urge to pull out their hair. It can be hair from any part of the body such as the eyebrows, but the hair on the scalp is often the target of this repetitive behaviour.
As a result, those with trichotillomania end up with a hair loss problem, having patches of broken hair and bald spots. In most cases, the loss of hair is not noticeable until it is severe because sufferers try their best to hide it.
On top of its effects on a person’s physical appearance, this disorder also has a negative impact mentally and emotionally. It leads to low self-esteem, shame and societal withdrawal, amongst others.
Currently, there is no cure for trichotillomania. Here, we define “cure” as a drug or treatment that completely eliminates the condition. So, be wary of advertisements about so-called miracle pills that supposedly “cure” this hair pulling disorder.
While there is no cure for trichotillomania, there are treatments available which can help reduce or entirely stop the hair pulling behaviour. There are also remedies available to address its secondary effects like hair loss and scalp infections.
It is worth noting that treatment cannot commence until you recognise the problem. Many of those with this disorder feel embarrassed and guilty. This mindset puts them in a state of denial (that they have a problem) and prevents them from seeking professional help.
Here’s the thing:
If you are in the same situation, please know that you should not feel any guilt about pulling your hair. It is just a habit – one that can be reversed or stopped. But breaking this habit is only possible if you accept that you have a problem and that you need help.
Where do you get treatment for trichotillomania?
In Ireland, renowned clinics like the Universal Hair & Scalp Clinic have been helping patients with hair pulling disorder for several decades now.
As a member of The Trichotillomania Learning Centre (Santa Cruz), Universal Hair & Scalp Clinic has hair and scalp specialists who are qualified to treat those with this distressing condition.
The treatment process begins with a comprehensive evaluation of your hair and scalp and an assessment of your psychiatric condition.
These preliminary tests are done to come up with an accurate diagnosis and rule other medical conditions which can worsen the hair loss and/or psychiatric problems which can interfere with the treatment.
The primary treatment for trichotillomania is behavioural therapy. The goal of the therapy is to help you recognise “triggers” which cause you to pull your hair and teach you habit reversal techniques. You’ll learn how to substitute the hair pulling habit with other behaviours like touching your ear instead of your hair.
Aside from therapy, medications may also be used to treat the secondary effects of trichotillomania like hair loss and scalp problems.
For hair loss, medications may be given to promote hair growth as well as to strengthen the hair. Similarly, antibiotics and other drugs may be prescribed for scalp infection or irritation.
The duration of the treatment largely depends on the severity of the condition. The therapy usually involves at least 12 sessions, typically one session per week. Meanwhile, for hair loss treatments, it takes around 6 months before significant changes are observed.
You may feel uncomfortable about disclosing your hair pulling habit. This is perfectly normal and okay. However, please know that there are qualified professionals who understand what you are going through. They can discretely help you deal with your condition, using only proven techniques and medications.
Are you suffering from trichotillomania? We have specialists who are equipped to treat hair pulling behaviour and its secondary effects like hair loss. Call us today on +353 (0)1 6793618 and schedule an appointment with our specialist!