You’re watching tv, staring at the screen, barely registering what you’re watching. You’re listening to your teacher, or your boss, going on and on and you can’t even fathom what he’s talking about. Your hands stray to your hair, spurred on by an irresistible urge to tug, to pluck. You yank out your hair and feel an immense sense of relief. You can’t stop. You do it again…and again, day after day, week after week.
Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-may-nee-uh) is a disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows, or other parts of your body, despite trying to stop. The cause of trichotillomania is unclear, but like many complex disorders, trichotillomania probably results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Also, abnormalities in the natural brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine may play a role in trichotillomania.
Trichotillomania or compulsive hair pulling disorder was the first of the body-focussed repetitive behaviours (BFRBs) to be recognized as a clinical condition by the American psychiatric Association(APA) in 1987, when it was included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).