Trichotillomania Blog

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.

TABS Study - Trichotillomania and other BFRBs Sequencing Study

A study is being done in Yale School of Medicine, which aims to understand the relationship between genes and BFRBs.

Description for Potential Research Participants:

You are invited to be part of a study of people with body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) and related disorders. The purpose of this research is to understand the relationship between genes and these disorders. Our study is being done in part to try to find out why some members of your family are affected with BFRBs and others are not. Therefore, unaffected members of your family are important to this study. Eventually, we hope that this research will enable us to identify a genetic factor or factors that cause certain individuals to have BFRBs.

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Guest Post: The ‘pull’ to write - By Cara Ward

Since I started writing five years ago I have found myself not only doing it because I want to, but because I have to. Writing got me through one of the hardest periods of my life; when I suffered from red skin syndrome, a condition brought on from the use of topical steroids and was also there when I made a full recovery, so in my battle to overcome trichotillomania, writing has naturally played a huge part in my journey.

New Research: Can computers be used to help children with trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania (trich) is a mental health disorder where a person repeatedly and recurrently pulls out their hair which causes hair loss and significant physical and psychological impairment. The disorder’s symptoms usually show up between 9 and 13 years of age, coinciding with the onset of puberty. Not much is known about the cause of the disorder, but research using brain imaging has provided evidence that trichotillomania results from impairment in response inhibition. Primarily, a person experiences an urge to pull their hair, but they cannot resist the urge or stop the behavior even when the response is inappropriate. Some research shows that the part of the brain that tells the body to stop a movement is impaired in people with trich.

Remote treatment of sleep-related trichotillomania

Compulsive hair pulling affects 1-2% of the population, mostly female and usually starts during puberty. Pulling behaviors can take many hours per day. Not only does pulling hair interfere with daily functioning, but many people who suffer from trichotillomania spend many hours covering up or disguising the damage. The manifestation of the behavior is different for each person; however, it often results in hair loss on the face or scalp. Many people who suffer from compulsive hair pulling also have other mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Do People with Trichotillomania Have Differences in Their Brains?

Many people with mental illness find comfort when they find out their condition related to structural or chemical issues in the brain. Providing an explanation based on something physical can reduce the self-stigma associated with mental illness. Self-stigma is like perceived stigma, where someone expects poor treatment because they have a mental illness. A physical explanation for a disorder can also improve self-esteem because perspective can change from “I don’t know what is wrong with me, I must be bad,” to “My brain works or is structured differently.” Not everyone feels this way though.

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Online Test for Trichotillomania

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