Trichotillomania, or hair pulling disorder, involves the obsessive compulsion to pull out ones hair. The focus area of hair pulling varies and can be anywhere on the body where there is hair. Pulling at the hair on the scalp is most common and often automatic. For some people hair pulling is just a bad habit which does not affect them negatively in any way. In this case the hair pulling is not considered a disorder. According to the DSM5, trichotillomania is most commonly characterized by:
More Exposure, More Awareness
Trichotillomania has gained increased awareness over the past few years, largely due to the use of blogging and social media by the younger generation who use it to speak openly about their experiences with the disorder. With access to information around the world via the web, and the social trend to share ourselves openly with the broader public, the new generation have embraced freedom of expression with both hands. More and more people are using blogging (short for weblog), a discussion or informational website, to express their views and opinions, and are finding willing audiences to listen. This can also take the form of video blogging (vlogging), whereby the person’s views are expressed on camera. Coupled with social media platforms, blogs can often go viral, meaning that the messages they convey are heard by a wide, often global audience.
This year, in the first week of October, the hair pulling community, along with the other body-focussed repetitive behaviours (BFRBs) such as skin picking disorder, observed BFRB awareness week. Many people with BFRBs are never diagnosed and never receive any help or support due to lack of awareness that these behaviours are classified as a disorder. Trichotillomania or hair pulling disorder can also be a source of great shame and embarrassment, so those who suffer with the condition often suffer in silence. So when a celebrity, who is admired for her beauty comes forward with the revelation that she too suffers the compulsion to pull her hair, it offers a sense of acknowledgement that trichotillomania can happen to anyone and that it is not something to be ashamed about.
Online Test for Trichotillomania
Find Out The Severity of Your Hair Pulling With This Free Online Test