What are the causes of trichotillomania?
Hair-related issues are mostly caused by physical problems. For example, there is the genetically related alopecia, as well as more general issues such as hair thinning, receding hairlines and occurrence of bald patches. Almost all of them can be traced back to a few main causes e.g. follicle disorders, inflammatory skin problems, thyroid problems, menopause or anemia. However this is the most extreme and most serious side of the spectrum, such hair complications can also be symptoms of the use of incorrect hair products or hair treatments, which can paradoxically harm us. However, there are other non-physical reasons which can impact the condition of our hair. Trichotillomania is an example of a serious hair problem stemming purely from psychological reasons. So what exactly is trichotillomania and what are its causes?
Trichotillomania is a serious control disorder that manifests itself through compulsive pulling out of one’s hair. This behavior can result in voluminous hair loss and noticeable bald patches. Trichotillomania often begins in early childhood, and in adulthood affects mostly women. Trichotillomania causes aren’t easy to determine, seen as they concern one’s mentality. In fact scientists have found that trichotillomania is directly connected with distress, anxiety or even depression. They are also confirmed cases of trichotillomania manifesting because of PTSD, i.e. post-traumatic stress disorder. However, in most cases people reach out to the hair pullout method to deal with stressful situations. This is their way of dealing with multiple problems and ‘treating’ themselves, hence the link with depression, anxiety etc. It seems that people suffering from trichotillomania are in fact often aware of their problem and know that their impulses are harmful but nonetheless they are somewhat addicted to this behaviour. Therefore getting rid of this habit, and battling this disorder can be a difficult task. This urge to pull out own hair satisfies the person, and they feel temporary relief as their stress level is substantially reduced, therefore such people like alcohol and drug addicts rarely willingly reach out for help.
Are there effective treatments for Trichotillomania?
There are many causes of trichotillomania, and almost all are unique and personalised. Therefore there is no specific tests that can precisely diagnose the problem. This situation appears to be even more difficult due to the fact that people with this disorder tend to hide their problem, they are very often either ashamed or afraid to come out with it in public. Nonetheless, once trichotillomania is diagnosed and confirmed, it can be effectively treated. Trichotillomania treatments rely mostly on cognitive behavioral therapies. Since trichotillomania causes are strictly psychological and come from behavioral disorders, the psychological treatment methods aren’t really surprising. Generally, the idea behind these psychological treatments is to encourage a patient to replace the harmful habit with something that is also relieving and satisfying but does not cause any harm.