What is trichotillomania?
It is an obsessive-compulsive related disorder that involves the irresistible urge to pull out your hair, despite the attempts to stop. For a long time, I’ve had trichotillomania, probably before I was even ten years of age. Most of my teenage years, I remember sitting in the lounge room tugging at my hair, tuning out from what was happening around me. Sort of in a trance if you will.
Straight-faced, staring at nothing while my hands are moving and twisting at my hair. I do this ritual when I’m stressed; I do this ritual when I’m not; I do it almost everywhere, all the time — sometimes I even do it when I’m driving because I can’t stop. The only time I don’t pull at my hair is when I’m working and my hair is tied back. It’s easy not to pull at work when you’re busy and focused on something.
‘Hair-pulling rituals’ as I like to call them, are something that people with trichotillomania do without realizing it — sort of like being on autopilot. Minutes go by until you know what you’re doing, but by then it’s too late because you may have caused damage already. Other times you can just have the urge to pull your hair. You’re entirely aware of it and don’t feel satisfied until you’ve followed through. Even writing this gives me the urge to touch my hair.
But how can you become more aware of your pulling so that you can stop?
It’s not that simple; in fact, it’s very hard. Only recently, was I diagnosed with the condition, but for more than fourteen years, I have been trying to become more aware and stop myself. There are things you can do to try and help it, but they don’t work for everyone.
Keep in mind that these are just ideas to try and help you pull less, not cure it.
- Wear a hat
- Try to see how long you can go without pulling and reward yourself
- Find ways to keep your hands busy
- Read up about trichotillomania, talk to someone else who suffers with it
- Wear a wig or hair extensions — if you pull, you’re not pulling your real hair
- Try fake nails. It makes it very hard to pull out hair
- Cover your fingers with bandages
- Pamper yourself dammit
- Write a blog post about trichotillomania
There are many more ways to help people cope. I know that I’ve probably missed some. I’ve tried all of these methods that I’ve listed. Sometimes they help me and sometimes they don’t.
Is there a cure for trichotillomania?
There is no cure for trichotillomania, but there are treatments. Sometimes medications help. There is also something called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Habit Reversal Training, group therapy, and even hypnosis. If you’re interested in reading up on any of these, this website below has more information:
Trichotillomania Treatment - How to Stop Pulling Out Hair | TrichStop.com
Trichotillomania is an often-misunderstood mental health disorder. People who suffer from it often go undiagnosed and…
I found this website to have a few good reads. They even have a personalized program (fancy!). What prompted me to write this little post about my disorder was the fact that I had taken my hair pulling to a whole new level, and it was scary.
Usually, when I pick at my hair and go through my ritual, I’m always able to get the knot out by pulling or ripping. But for the first time last week, I knotted my hair up so much, that I was unable to pull it out in the usual fashion. I had to cut it. I was cutting out knots. When I sat on the floor, staring at the scissors and the giant knot of hair next to it, I realized that I’d taken it to a whole new level.
I guess talking about trichotillomania to others and making a blog has helped me spread awareness around it. Sure, maybe I’ve only reached 200 people, but that’s 200 people that know a little bit more about such an unknown and easily-misunderstood disorder.
I’d love to know if anyone has some methods they use that I haven’t listed!