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What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a hair loss condition which is self inflicted. Revital Trichology Clinic is frequently visited by patients for Trichotillomania treatment in Mumbai . This condition is not uncommon and very often goes unnoticed.

Many like to  play with their hair. They may twirl their hair between the fingers while watching TV, reading, focusing and also when they are stressed or worried. Most of the time the habit is harmless, but it can occasionally turn into a serious condition called Trichotillomania – in which the person gets recurrent, irresistible urges to pull the hair from scalp, eyebrows or other body parts.

Recurrent pulling out of hair can cause thin or bald patches, which can extend to quite a large area depending on how severe the disorder is. If hair grows back, but continues to be pulled out over many years, you can damage your follicles and get permanent hair loss. Trichotillomania can also be present on eyelashes and eyebrows, but this is less common.

Trichotillomania can lead to significant distress and hamper social and work functioning. It is best to consult a trichologist for help to determine the severity of the problem and treat it accordingly.

Causes of Trichotillomania

The causes of trichotillomania are unclear. This condition is more common in women than men and can be seen around puberty and often at menopause. In some cases, it goes unnoticed and is unintentional. However, most of the times there are underlying reasons – from anxiety and as a means to release stress, to depression, a cry for help and a traumatic experience. This can be especially true with regards to younger persons.

By pulling hair one may initially feel relieved of the stresses or anxieties but it can advance and become an obsessive disorder and sometimes patients may eat the pulled hair and the condition is called Trichophagia.

Diagnosis of Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is often confused as alopecia areata – another hair loss that occurs in patches.

The reasons for misdiagnosis is because both conditions appear similar to the untrained eyes and secondly patients are ashamed of revealing it to the doctor that they themselves are pulling their hair. Children will also not usually not say this to their parents for the fear of being scold.

There is, nevertheless, a specific diagnostic feature of trichotillomania and that is uneven hair breakage. When you pull the hair out, you can’t pull it all at the same angle so it snaps off, and at different lengths.

However, in Alopecia Areata, the small hairs will be approximately the same length. Also, the pattern of hair loss from Trichotillomania is usually more affected on the right side of the scalp if you are right-handed and vice versa. If you suspect that you, or a friend or family member, could be suffering from Trichotillomania, or Alopecia Areata, please consult with one of our Trichologist.

Treatment of Trichotillomania

The first and most important part of treating Trichotillomania is seeking help either for yourself, a friend or family member. Sometimes, psychological therapy may be needed.Always know that there is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. We have helped many patients with Trichotillomania ranging from young children to highly successful women and men. It is just like seeking expert help for other conditions or illness.

Other supporting treatments include: Wearing thick gloves, at night, when the temptation to pull your hair out is at its maximum. Cutting your hair short so that it can not be held in the hand. Making hair slippery by applying oil or cream. Wearing a scarf over your head. Playing with worry beads to take your mind away from the impulses to pull your hair.

The treatment for Trichotillomania may take time and you need to be patient. The hair will grow back with right therapy and support. If it is of chronic origin, there are chances that due to the constant pulling some damage has happened to the follicles. In such cases the recovery may not be complete but some hair will grow back may be different texture but it can be definitely helped.

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