Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania) & Skin Picking


Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania) and Skin Picking

Trichotillomania - Bald patches on scalp

Trichotillomania – Bald patches on scalp

Does someone you know has a habit of pulling out his/her own hair?

Do you find inexplicable clumps of hair in your loved one’s living space?

Are you seeing bald patches on your child’s scalp, missing eyebrows, and/or eyelashes?

If you observed or are personally experiencing any of the above, you or your loved one may be suffering from Hair Pulling Disorder or Trichotillomania (TTM).

Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder characterized by repetitive pulling out of one’s hair from any part of the body (scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, even pubic hair) for non-cosmetic reasons. Click here for more details

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association, the diagnostic criteria for Trichotillomania are:

  • Recurrent pulling out one’s hair resulting in noticeable hair loss.
  • An increasing sense of tension immediately prior to pulling out the hair or when attempting to resist the behavior.
  • Pleasure, gratification, or relief when pulling out the hair.
  • The disturbance is not better accounted for by another mental disorder and is not due to a general medical condition (e.g. a dermatological condition).
  • The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Trichotillomania belongs to a unique family of Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) which also include skin-picking, nail biting, and cheek biting.

Cause of Trichotillomania

Missing eyelashes

Compulsive Eyelashes Pulling

The cause of trichotillomania is yet unknown although like many complex disorders, it probably results from a multitude of factors such as genetic, environmental, past trauma and/or unconscious conflicts. It may also be a maladaptive behavior learned independently to serve a purpose. For instance, hair pulling may begin as a stress-response which subsequently developed into a habit.

How Hypnotherapy Can Help

Just like weeds sprouting under the right condition, the acts of hair pulling, skin picking, nail or cheek biting are triggered under the ‘right’ circumstances. Perhaps it’s when they are engaged in sedentary activities like watching TV or studying. Or perhaps it’s during time of stress or emotional turmoil.

During therapy, we will identify “triggers” which prompt the hair pulling or related acts. We will then jointly devise strategies to disrupt the pattern of behavior and redirect the response to that which is more desirable and appropriate. Through the use of hypnotic techniques, you or your loved one can overcome the Hair-pulling and/or Skin-picking habit faster and more effectively.

Support for Family Members

Support for family members

Support for family members

It’s heart-wrenching to see your loved one suffers; you want to be supportive but you don’t know how. We understand your concerns, that is why we take care of your needs too. We teach you how you can best manage your mental and emotional stress as well as offer you practical and beneficial methods for coping with your loved one’s condition.

Journey to recovery can begin now. Contact us today.

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