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What is Trichotillomania?

Most people will fiddle with their hair, sometimes pulling out a gray strand or one with a split end. That behavior certainly falls into the normal realm. However, compulsively pulling out your hair and leaving bald spots on your scalp or gaps in your eyebrows and eyelashes is a mental condition that falls under compulsive/obsessive disorder. Called Trichotillomania, this disease can have devasting effects that go beyond physical appearance. It can affect a sufferers social life and job performance as well.


Those with Trichotillomania may experience different levels of severity. Some people can manage the condition so that others are not aware of it. More severe cases involve an overwhelming compulsion to pull out your hair. Some sufferers focus on the scalp, while others pull hair from their torso, legs, genital area, etc. You may have trichotillomania if you exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Feel pressure that is only relieved by pulling hair.
  • Have unsuccessful attempts to stop pulling hair.
  • Pull hair in private.
  • Have noticeable hair loss.
  • Experience problems functioning in public, on the job, etc. due to the resulting hair loss.
  • Bite or eat your pulled hair.


Trichotillomania most often appears around puberty and strikes far more women than men. Those who develop this condition often have anxiety or depression and exhibit other similar behaviors such as skin picking and fingernail biting. If you have this condition, it may be mild at some times and more severe at others. Stressful situations can trigger more severe episodes.


Experts recommend seeking treatment if hair pulling is adversely affecting your life and you are unable to stop on your own. Individual therapy, group therapy and some medications may help you to gain control over this illness.

Hair Help

If you have noticeable bald patches due to this disease, you can use a variety of products to disguise them. Wigs and other hair systems can help.

A make-up artist can show you how to use cosmetics to disguise patchy brows and lashes. You do not have to feel self-conscious while you battle this affliction.

Trichotillomania is more common than you may realize. Someone close to you may be suffering from it. Help is available to disguise the physical manifestations of the disease while you treat the mental issues that cause it.

At Christoffels each of our hair loss options are custom designed for your unique and specific needs. If you are experiencing the devastating effects of hair loss and would like to learn more about the different wig options available to you, please request a free private, confidential consultation with us.

Blog courtesy of Transitions Hair Loss Centers.


a portrait of Sara Tims for Christoffels Hair Restoration in Sioux Falls, SD

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