Trichotillomania also known as hair pulling disorder can be a hindrance to a person’s psyche. The mental health disorder makes it irresistible to recurrently pull hair out from the eyebrows, scalp and other body parts, despite wanting to stop. Pulling out hair from your scalp can often leave bald patchy spots, which cause a lot of distress and can hamper work or social functioning. People affected with trichotillomania often try everything to hide the hair loss. Some people affected with trichotillomania might have a milder form of this disorder which can be managed well. In others, the hair pulling urge gets compulsive and is overwhelming. Some treatments are there which help people reduce pulling their hair or even stop it completely. If hair pulling becomes compulsive or you are embarrassed of your looks because of the disorder, then consult your doctor. People often think of trichotillomania as a habit, and nullify it as a mental health problem. What causes trichotillomania is not known. Like most complicated disorders it probably stems from environmental and genetic factors.
The following factors increase predisposition to trichotillomania:
Age- Trichotillomania generally develops during or before the early teenage years. Often it is a lifelong problem. Infants may also develop urges to pull their hair, but this generally is mild and gets cured without requiring treatment.
Family history- Trichotillomania can be hereditary as genetics might increase the chances of having this disorder.
Stress- Trichotillomania might get triggered due to stressful events or situations.
A lot more women seek treatment for trichotillomania as compared to men. This might be attributed to the fact that women in general seek medical help more than men do. Girls and boys are equally affected by this disorder in their childhood.
Trichotillomania negatively affect your life in many respects. Complications might include:
Problems Functioning- Embarrassment due to hair loss might make you avoid job opportunities and social activities. People having trichotillomania wear wigs, wear their hair differently or sport fake eyelashes. Some might abstain from intimacy, fearing that the condition will get revealed.
Hairballs- Consuming your own hair might result in a matted large hairball formation in the digestive tract. Over the years, it might result in vomiting, weight loss, intestinal blockage and ultimately death.