Trichotillomania Blog

Speak Life: Words are powerful.

Whoever created the saying “sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me” was either in complete denial or had no clue about the devastating effects of words. Things we hear in childhood echo in our minds for years to come, often shaping how we think and feel about ourselves. Some of it gets put there before we are conscious of it happening.

New treatments target the brain

While reviewing mental health news for potential blog postings, I noticed multiple announcements regarding transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). After reading the press release from Achieve TMS which states “There are no systemic side effects, and patients are able to safely drive to school or work immediately afterward,” a fearful question from my inner skeptic popped into my head: Does anyone remember lobotomies?

Naltrexone and trich?

Naltrexone (ReVia and Vivitrol) is an opioid antagonist which is used for opiate and alcohol dependence. It works by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain which produce the high associated with substances, but research suggests it can be used for other compulsive behaviors.

Naltrexone is not Narcan

Naltrexone is not to be confused with naloxone. More commonly known as Narcan, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids within two minutes and is used as an emergency medical intervention to prevent overdose. Naltrexone works slower, with effectiveness occurring after 30 minutes and lasts much longer. It does not work with people who currently use a substance, instead, it is used for maintaining sobriety by reducing the urge to use and then blocking the effects.

More people struggle with hair pulling than previously thought

New research released this month about the prevalence of body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) suggests that these disorders are more common than previous research stated.

Prevalence? What’s prevalence?

Prevalence is a term used in epidemiology to describe a proportion of a population that has a condition. Mostly, it refers to the commonality of something. The numbers usually represent a fraction of a percentage of cases per 100,000 people but are specific to a given period.

While prevalence often suggests that the percentage provided is a real number, it is based on a sample population. Sample populations are smaller versions of the entire population which mean that even if there is the prevalence of 10% indicated for a condition, it does not mean that 10% of people have it. Instead, it means 10% of a sample population has it which implies that percentage reflects the general population.

Cara's Trich Backstory

The Backstory is a U.K.-based documentary podcast series created by Claire Mutimer and Suzy Coulson to share stories that shape who people are. 

In early October, they shared the story of Cara Ward, author of Every Trich in the Book, and her journey with trichotillomania. 

Listen to the podcast. 

Read about Cara.

TLC Foundation Annual Conference Call for Presenters

The 26th Annual Conference on BFRBs will be held May 2-5, 2019, in Chantilly, VA.

The Annual Conference on Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors brings together people of all ages affected by BFRBs and their families, treatment providers, researchers, and salon and service providers for a "life-changing" weekend of education and community.

They specifically seek workshops that:

Disabling impairment: What does the research say?

People with trichotillomania experience multiple levels of psychosocial dysfunction, exacerbated by the visible nature of the condition. When hairpulling compulsions increase in severity, it means noticeable hair loss. People see that. They comment. They ask questions.

A study conducted in 2016 through the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago looked at the levels of dysfunction that people with trichotillomania and excoriation disorder experience. While the disabling nature of each condition is recognized by researchers and those who live with the disorders, this study sought to quantify levels of impairment and compare them with symptom severity to see if there was anything to learn.

Diagnosis: How it’s done and why it’s relevant

Still a misunderstood condition, research is providing more ways for clinicians to diagnose trichotillomania and its subtypes accurately. However, many negative connotations the word “diagnosis” has, there are benefits to diagnostic accuracy for people with trichotillomania.

Diagnosis is…

Therapists have mixed feelings about the diagnostic process. Some believe it is essential and imperative for accurate treatment while others look at it as a means to facilitate treatment but not as important as what the client experiences. Some will require a client to participate in multiple types of assessments and tests to get the diagnosis right, while others will only rely on client self-report and then pick an appropriate label out of the DSM-5. Regardless of one’s therapeutic perspective, an accurate diagnosis is key to selecting evidence-based treatments for clients. For people with trichotillomania, diagnosis can be even more important due to the prevalence of misdiagnosis which does not help clients at all.

New Research: Motivation underlying hair-pulling behavior conceptualized

There are multiple theories about what contributes to compulsive hair-pulling disorder. The cause remains unknown, however, theories regarding the motivations for the behavior help scientists target research endeavors. One theory at the forefront of research is the reinforcement sensitivity theory. This article will explain the concepts of this theory and how research suggests it applies to trichotillomania.

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Online Test for Trichotillomania

Find Out The Severity of Your Hair Pulling With This Free Online Test