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Hair Pulling Disorder (Trichotillomania)

Hair pulling is recognized as a psychological disorder. This disorder, also known as trichotillomania, is when a person pulls out hair such as hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. People with hair pulling disorder may pull their hair, eyebrows or body hair as an expression of the world they build in their minds. The disorders of individuals with this tendency may not only consist of pulling hair. Trichotillomania, which directly affects social life, causes a negative impact on quality of life. So what is hair pulling disease (trichotillomania)? Here is the answer… 

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What is Hair Pulling Disorder (Trichotillomania)?

Hair pulling disorder or trichotillomania, a type of psychiatric disorder, usually begins between the ages of 4 and 17. This disorder, which can last a lifetime, can be explained by the person’s constant pulling of body hair, especially hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. According to research, trichotillomania is reported to occur between 0.5 percent and 2 percent of the population in the country. Apart from people who apply to specialists, it is also known that individuals who experience losses in the area due to pulling their hair, eyelashes and eyebrows have reservations about applying to physicians. Therefore, it is estimated that 0.5-2 percent is higher. 

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What are the Types of Hair Pulling Disease (Trichotillomania)? 

There is more than one type of hair pulling disorder. Trichotillomania is divided into two classes when a person realizes whether or not they are pulling out their own hair. These are evaluated according to two different types: focused hair pulling and automatic hair pulling.

Focused Hair Pulling: Automatic hair pulling can be linked to this, as people often get caught up in a particular thought. It should be remembered that an emotion, thought or other stimulus may also be involved in the hair pulling habit. In people with focused hair pulling, certain emotions and thoughts such as distraction, enjoyment of hair pulling, tension, stress, relaxation are observed to be dominant.  

Automatic Hair Pulling: In automatic hair pulling, this happens without realizing it. Automatic hair pulling is defined as the pulling out of the hair on the body of a person who focuses intently on what he or she is watching on television or an individual who is studying. A person only realizes that he or she has pulled out the hairs on his or her body when he or she looks at himself or herself in the mirror.

What are the causes of hair pulling disorder (trichotillomania)?

The causes of hair pulling disorder (trichotillomania) are not known exactly. Both biological and some environmental factors can cause hair pulling. So, what are the causes of hair pulling disease (trichotillomania)? Here is the answer: 

  1. Genetic Factors: Many experts point to genetic factors as one of the causes of hair pulling disorder. It is stated that genetic factors also have an effect on this condition, which is included in obsessive-compulsive behavior disorders.
  2. Stress: Stress resulting from symptoms such as anxiety, overstimulation, frustration, emotional breakdown, tension and conflict can affect the development of trichotillomania. 
  3. Neurochemical Problems: When a person has different levels of brain chemistry than normal, it can trigger hair pulling. 
  4. Psychiatric Disorders: People with psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression can also develop trichotillomania. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Trichotillomania is a condition in which a person feels the need to pull their own hair. It is often considered a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder. In this condition, a person may have a strong desire to pull out their hair when they feel stress, anxiety, distress or restlessness. Trichotillomania usually begins in childhood or adolescence and can continue into adulthood.

Trichotillomania is usually managed with psychotherapy and behavioral treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help the patient understand and change their hair pulling habits. Behavioral therapy techniques encourage the person to recognize hair-pulling behavior, recognize triggers, and develop healthier habits to replace them. In addition, medication (antidepressants, anxiolytics) can help alleviate symptoms in some cases.

The following methods can be tried to control trichotillomania:

Stress management techniques (such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga).
Avoiding triggering situations or developing coping skills.
Recognizing the habit of hair pulling and replacing it with other activities (e.g. squeezing a stress ball, rubbing a toy instead of hair).
Attending support groups or receiving therapy can provide emotional support and practical strategies.
It is important to seek professional help, seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist if necessary.

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About the Author: Dr. Rasime Erkan
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Rasime Erkan, who has the title of specialist doctor in dermatology, was born in Kayseri. Coming to Istanbul at the age of 2, Dr. Rasime Erkan completed her education here and continued her studies. In 1981, Dr. Rasime Erkan graduated from Istanbul Medical Faculty and started her professional career in a private hospital in Istanbul. In the following years, she completed her specialization in the Department of Dermatology at Istanbul Medical Faculty and continued her career success by completing the “Specialization” exam in 1988. Dr. Rasime Erkan worked as the “Chief Physician” of the hospital in 1992 while continuing her duty in a private hospital. She continued her career as Chief Physician and Dermatologist and after her retirement, she established Lazermed Beauty Center and started working in her own clinic. Dr. Rasime Erkan is currently a dermatologist at Hair Center of Turkey hair transplant clinic and continues her valuable work in our hair transplant clinic with her experience and knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of dermatological diseases.
08/04/2024Blog, Hair Loss
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