I have Trichotillomania, an obsessive compulsive disorder where I pull out my hair. There are times when I do not have eyebrows or eyelashes, and I feel so ugly. I get really angry and upset at myself. My mother used to ask me, "Don't you want to be beautiful?” I want to get over this problem. I've been going to see a therapist, which has helped, but I still get anxious and pull. I want to be able to feel good about my face and my body...but I just don't. What can I do to get out of this unhappy, pitiful state?
For our readers who are not familiar with the disorder, Trichotillomania is a medical condition where people pull hair out at the root from places like the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or pubic area. Some people pull large handfuls or hair, while other’s pull out the hairs one at a time. Some inspect the strand after pulling it out, and about half put the hair in their mouths after pulling it out. Trichotillomania is a type of compulsive behavior, meaning there is an overwhelming urge to pull the hair.
Symptoms of Trichotillomania include:
1) Recurrent pulling out of one’s hair resulting in noticeable hair loss.
2) An increased sense of tension immediately before pulling out the hair or when attempting to resist the behavior.
3) Pleasure, gratification, or relief when pulling out the hair.
4) The disturbance is not due to another mental disorder or a general medical condition.
5) The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or academic, or other important areas of functioning.
TeenHealthFX is glad to hear that the situation is improving and believes that it will continue to improve as you continue to work with your therapist. Although no one treatment has been found to be effective for everyone there are a number of treatment options have shown promise for some people with Trichotillomania. You may need to experiment with different combinations of treatments and tools to find what works for you. People do recover from Trichotillomania so don’t give up or get angry with yourself just keep moving forward.
A good resource for people who suffer from this disorder is the Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC). The site will also list treatment providers who specialize in this disorder in your area.