Understanding Trichotillomania: Symptoms and Causes Debunked

Disorders are odd and dangerous mental health troubles that can often jeopardize your physiological health. This is why one should never take these symptoms of peculiar disorders lightly and seek professional help the moment they come across some of the symptoms.

Any compulsive behavior that you cannot explain but automatically indulge in could be one of the most common symptoms of the disorder. This should be your cue to book an appointment. Today, we will be talking about one such compulsive behavior, which deals with the urge to pull out the hair from one’s scalp. Individuals even compulsively pull hair from their eyebrows and other areas of the body.

This particular disorder is called hair-pulling disorder or Trichotillomania. In this excerpt below, we will be giving you a crisp guide to what the disorder is, its symptoms, and the causes as well as treatment of this disease.

What Is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a recorded disorder that begins with compulsively pulling hair from one’s scalp. This not only causes social discrepancies as one would involuntarily inch to pulling hair in such social situations.

Trichotillomania is a mental health disorder characterized by a compulsive urge to pull out one’s own hair, often resulting in noticeable hair loss. Individuals with Trichotillomania may experience tension before pulling and a sense of relief afterward. 

It’s classified as an obsessive-compulsive-related disorder and can lead to distress and impaired functioning. Treatment of Trichotillomania may involve therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and sometimes medication to manage symptoms and address underlying causes.

Symptoms Of Trichotillomania

Not every Trichotillomania starts with individuals compulsively pulling their hair from the scalp. It begins with simple symptoms, and understanding the signs early on will assist someone in getting help from therapy before it gets too late.

1. Tension

It starts with a crippling tension crawling underneath your skin. This is known as tension or the urge to start plucking their hair.

2. Pleasure

Feeling an uncanny sensation of pleasure when you start pulling hair from their scalp. Even after the pain caused by the harsh, uneven pulling, there is a possibility that the individual will repeat the action.

3. Loss Of Control

They might lose voluntary control over pulling their hair. At times, they would continue the compulsive behavior without even their conscious knowledge.

4. Concealing

One only conceals hair loss which they are embarrassed about. A sense of shame comes about when compulsive behavior takes a toll on their self-confidence, especially when they know that their loved ones would object to it.

5. Social Situations

Individuals face certain situations where their bald patch is showing, and it gets noticed by someone in a social setting.

Causes Of Trichotillomania

It is difficult to navigate the exact connection between the cause and when the symptom began. However, after a few studies, doctors and psychologists have managed to find some cause behind this compulsive disorder.

1. Genetics

One of the obvious reasons is getting this disorder transmitted from one generation to another. However, it is not a dominant gene like a dimpled cheek. Therefore, just because someone in the family had it doesn’t automatically mean you will get it.

2. Chemical Imbalance

There could be a neurological chemical imbalance where activities like good sleep, good meals, and good social interaction don’t produce happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin for an individual. Rather, taking refuge in this compulsive hair-pulling activity brings pleasure and chemical release.

3. Emotional Regulation

Some have less intrinsic control over their emotions, and they require something like hair pulling to regulate their emotions. If someone has anger issues or feels extremely anxious, pulling their hair could be a way to escape the intense emotional turmoil. Somewhere, it is a much unhealthy substitute to people snapping their wrists with a rubber band in a way to span them out of feeling a certain emotion to an unhealthy rate.

4. Childhood Trauma

For some, Trichotillomania is a coping mechanism from certain childhood traumas they have dealt with. When their mind takes them through the painful bends of such a memory lane, the compulsive behavior pulls them from spiraling into that memory. Especially when they are not taught a healthy way to cope with these memories, and it makes them anxious.

What To Do?

By far, we have spoken about the symptoms and causes of this disease. But, before we delve into the doom of feeling it is untreatable, we are here to tell you that it is not. 

It’s important to note that Trichotillomania is a complex condition, and different individuals may have different combinations of factors contributing to their symptoms. 

Mental health professionals can provide accurate assessment, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment options to address the underlying causes and help individuals manage and overcome Trichotillomania.

If the disorder is caused by a childhood trauma, it is better to consult a mental health specialist right away. Helping the individual out of the PTSD of that said trauma is more important since it is the root cause of all the other mental health issues following.

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