Trichotillomania, calm anxiety by tearing off your hair

Trichotillomania, calm anxiety by tearing off your hair

Trichotillomania is a type of impulse control disorder. People with this disorder are aware that they are hurting themselves by acting in this way, getting carried away by impulses, but still unable to stop. They usually tear their hair when they are stressed as a way to try to calm down.


  • 1 What is trichotillomania?
  • 2 What are the symptoms of trichotillomania?
  • 3 How do you start trichotillomania? Why it happens? What are your causes?
  • 4 Associated disorders and comorbidity

What is trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania disorder is the uncontrollable need to have to pull your hair, the most common being the head, although it can also occur in the case of eyebrows and eyelashes.

And it is not that it happens because the person in question does not know, does not feel or is not aware of the damage that can be done. It is. But, despite this, it cannot restrain the need to carry out this practice.

However, it is not something they do continuously, but it is a mechanism to withstand pressure and stress, trying to calm down.

It is a condition that appears at 13 years of age and, in psychiatry, is listed as an impulse control disorder, as is the case with kleptomania or pyromania.

As for the people affected, we found that 1% of the population suffers from this problem, and that it occurs equally in men in women. Actually, according to the registered cases, there is a little more in women, but, it seems, that is because they seek treatment more frequently, so they appear more times in the records.

What are the symptoms of trichotillomania?

The most frequent symptoms of trichotillomania are the following:

  • Tear off the hair repeatedly until the loss of the hair becomes visible.
  • Feeling of tension at the moment just before pulling your hair.
  • Perception of tension and stress when trying to restrain the impulse.
  • Feeling of liberation, pleasure and calm when pulling hair.
  • This alteration entails a significant social, occupational and other daily deterioration (for example, a low self esteem by the partial alopecia that derives from this disorder).

How do you start trichotillomania? Why it happens? What are your causes?

Normally, trichotillomania first appears at age 13. It can happen before, but it is not usual. The most widespread is that it appears in early adolescence.

The trigger is usually a stressful event, such as abuse, a family conflict, the death of someone close, a change in school or the environment, etc. In short, a situation that the young man cannot finish understanding and that stresses him.

There are some experts who claim that there may also be some kind of hormonal influence. That is, it does not appear due to puberty or stressful event, but because of the confluence of both.

But actually, There is no known specific cause for this disorder to appear. Some researchers believe that there may be a neurochemical imbalance at the brain level (some type of serotonin deficit), but it is not confirmed.

The most general opinion is that it is a combination of hormonal factors linked to a certain genetic predisposition, and that the trigger is a traumatic circumstance.

That is, a person may have that genetic predisposition and hormonal factors that could cause the disorder to appear, but, If the traumatic event does not appear, do not develop it.

In the same way, a person can suffer traumatic events, but, if he does not have such predisposition and hormonal problems, Trichotillomania does not appear.

However, as we say, the causes are not clear.

Associated disorders and comorbidity

Trichotillomania is usually accompanied by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, such as the uncontrollable need to count or wash your hands. In fact, many experts consider that trichotillomania is a type of OCD, given the degree of similarity between the two disorders.

It is also common that some type of depressive disorder appears, so many experts have pointed out that there may be a relationship between the neurotransmitters involved in depression and trichotillomania. Both disorders (and also OCD) are linked to a low level of serotonin.

However, not all experts agree on the latter reasoning. Many of them do not consider the same cause for both problems, but the cause of depression and low levels of self-esteem is precisely trichotillomania and the complications for the day to day that this generates.

As you can see, the trichotillomania It is closely related to post-traumatic stress and is a type of anxiety and clinical depression that leads to hair pulling and is normally present in patients with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. We hope you found this information useful and, if you have any questions, you can leave it to us in the comments!

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