Q: Good day Dr. I use to remove my hair with my hand and that made me have bare hair in head. I have tried stopping it but I can’t. I want to know the cause and possible solutions. Please help, Thanks
A: Hi dear, thanks for writing in.
The irresistible urge to pull hair off from scalp, eye brows or other parts of the body is called trichotillomania. Tongue twister, right? 😀 It is really a psychological condition in which the person involved is unable to control the urge to pull out hair leading to bald patches on scalp which they may go to very great lengths to disguise.
The urge to pull out hair usually starts with noticeable tension before they pull and/or while trying to resist the urge to pull. This is followed by a sense of pleasure and/or relief once the deed is done. Sometimes they chew the hair pulled out…which will cause yet another medical condition! Oftentimes, there’s a feeling of guilt and/or shame after giving in to the urge. People with this condition usually have bald patches/spots of hair on scalp or eyebrows or eyelashes in somewhat irregular shapes.
There is no known cause of this condition but people with family history of this condition, young people in their early teens, stressed out people and those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, depression and anxiety have a higher chance of developing this condition.
Treatment is usually psychotherapy…which involves talking through the issues involved with a therapist. Habit reversal training may be used here and aims to get you to recognize situations where you feel the urge to pull hair and learn to substitute hair pulling with another behavior.
So, this is one condition where there is no quick and easy remedy. But just like when you are dealing with an addiction, the first step is to realize that you have the problem, get help in a hospital and work with your doctor to modify your behavior.
Good emotional, social and family support is also critical at this time to help encourage you on the path to success.
I hope this helps.
All the best.
Have a good night, y’all 😀