What is Trichotillomania?




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What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a hair pulling disorder.  People with this condition have an irresistible urge to repeatedly pull or twist their hair until it comes out, usually from their scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes.  It is often done in private and often, the patient denies pulling his or her hair and are unaware of doing so.

It is a chronic condition and causes severe discomfort and social problems.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies it as a “disturbance of impulse control” and is categorized as an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Trichotillomania is more common among children than adults and occurs more than twice as frequently in women than in men. It sometimes occurs with bulimia nervosa in teenage girls.

The clinical feature of trichotillomania is plucked hair from the region of the scalp favoring the dominant hand.

Excessive hair pulling can lead to bald patches and sometimes may even lead to bleeding.

What Causes Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania does not have a genetic connection. The exact cause is unknown. According to behaviorists, they compare this condition to other habits, such nail biting and thumb sucking.  Psychoanalysts, in part, attribute the condition to disruptions in psychosexual development, emotional deprivation during youth, and repressed aggression.

What Treatment is Available for Trichotillomania?

The best treatment is to get professional help using behavioral modification; Hypnotherapy, aversion therapy (stimulus is paired with an undesirable behavior in order to reduce or eliminate that behavior), and psychotherapy.

Trichotillomania is not considered treatable by general psychotherapy, or psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The most effective method available is a combination of two cognitive behavioral strategies: Habit Reversal and Stimulus Control.

An effective trichotillomania treatment includes three things:


  • An increased awareness of when, where, and why hair pulling occurs.
  • An effort to control or change hair pulling behavior.
  • Emotional regulation training to find alternative ways of dealing with negative feelings.


Keen, Time Magazine’s 50 Best Inventions of 2018, is a wearable bracelet that is programmed to vibrate when you pull your hair.  Keen’s ability to learn unwanted behavior such as trichotillomania, dermatillomania (skin picking), face touching, and onychophagia (nail biting) allows the patient to be in control of their behavior. For more information about Keen and where to get one, please contact the Trichology Centre 647-492-9093.

Other Tricho “Manias”

Trichoteiromania:  continuous rubbing of one’s own hair (rather than pulling)

Trichotemnomania: obsessive-compulsive disorder of cutting or shaving one’s own hair.

Trichodaganomania: obsessive-compulsive disorder of biting one’s own hair.

Trichophagia: eating one’s own hair.

Trichobezaor: eating one’s own hair leading to hair accumulation in the stomach.

With the numerous available treatments for trichotillomania our in-clinic Trichologist can recommend the best treatment that can help with this disorder. At the Trichology Centre, we have helped patients with trichotillomania, advising them the best treatments available and helping them regain their confidence and self-esteem. Early assessment and treatment from the onset of hair loss is important and can help prevent the condition to worsen.

We have two clinics in the Toronto GTA,

TRICHOLOGY CENTRE | hairlossclinic.ca | hairtattoo.ca | laserhairtherapy.ca

225 Wellesley St E, Toronto
9140 Leslie St, Richmond Hill.
Please give us a call at 647-492-9093


Toronto, 225 Wellesley St East #5

Richmond Hill, 9140 Leslie St #301


(647) 492-9093




Mon-Sat 10:30 am - 8:00 pm

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