In 2014 Ms Reneta Slikboer, a PhD candidate from the Swinbourne University of Technology in Australia, embarked on her Doctoral research with a focus on understanding trichotillomania. The aim of the study was to understand the psychological mechanisms that contribute to maintaining trichotillomania and how they predict symptom severity. Previously thought to be a rare condition, it is now estimated that about 1% of the population experiences this disorder. Recognized for the first time as a clinical condition in 2013 in the diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM5), researechers are now sitting up and taking notice of condition that can be severly debilitating for many sufferers. According to Reneta:
This year, the annual Trichotillomania Learning Centre (TLC) Body-Focussed Repetitive Behavior (BFRB) conference was held 10-12 April in Arlington, Virginia. The conference aims to highlight new research, challenges and advancements in the field of BFRBs such as trichotillomania. The conference entails a jam packed program of inspirational speakers, lectures and an opportunity to meet others with the same condition. The conference is aimed at all ages and even younger children and teenagers are welcome, with special programs specifically for this group. One of the highlights of the conference is the closing session open mic. This is when these young attendees are welcomed up on the stage to share spontaneously any message they would like to convey to the audience.
When you just have a habit of pulling at your hair, you can choose to stop at any time. But when the urge to pull becomes too irresistible, it is possible a clinical condition has developed. One of the criteria for diagnosis of compulsive hair pulling disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM5) is that the individual is unable to stop despite one or more attempts to resist engaging in the behavior. So if having trichotillomania means you have not been able to stop pulling does this means you will never be able to stop?! No it doesn't. We outline a few basic tips from other hair pullers on how to stop pulling:
Trichotillomania or compulsive hair pulling disorder, is often thought to be an unconscious or automatic behavior, whereby the individual may be unaware he or she is pulling their hair until they have already started. Once the action has been initiated, the person finds it difficult to stop, despite feeling ashamed or guilty and being aware of the potentially damaging effect it might have on their hair follicles. This can then perpetuate the cycle whereby the person may then further experience the urge to pull in response to the shame and guilt that goes with this condition. When hair pulling is done in a compulsive manner which the person is unable to stop, it is no longer considered a bad habit, and is referred to as trichotillomania - classified as a form of impulse control disorder.
Like any other mental or physical condition, what we eat plays a significant role in our risk factors, our prognosis and the severity of our symptoms. Anecdotally society has always recognised the link between food and emotions, linking certain foods with love and romance, comfort food, foods that give you a pick-me-up and even celebratory foods. So intuitively we know that what we eat is more than just nourishment and should therefore come as no surprise that what you eat may have an impact on hair pulling. Of course there is no one shoe fits all ideal diet, but we let's take a look at some of the general guidelines to consider that may help you reduce your hair pulling:
Compulsive hair pulling, although common, is still little known within the medical profession. As such there is a lack of resources for those suffering with the condition. In addition, traditional face-to-face therapy can be very costly, thereby making it inaccessible to most people.
Although trichotillomania is a little known disorder and is fairly newly recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM5), those suffering from this condition have been instrumental in creating awareness through various forms of media. One such media format is the age old medium of books. Self-help books have been around probably as long as there have been books, their purpose being to instruct or impart knowledge or skills to the reader that will help him or her solve personal problems. In modern times you can find self-help books and literature on almost anything, so it is no surprise that you will find books on trichotillomania, particularly with the severe lack of professional help and services available to people suffering with this disorder.
Researchers at University of California, Los Angeles are conducting research assessing sleep in individuals with hair pulling symptoms. They are recruiting adults ages 18 and older who engage in repetitive hair pulling. The survey will last approximately 30 minutes and will include questions about your demographics, sleep quality and patterns, hair pulling symptoms, mood, and behavioral and emotional functioning.
Please visit the following link to participate: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/sleephairpullingadults
For further information, please email the Principal Investigator, Emily Ricketts, Ph.D. at ERicketts@mednet.ucla.edu
We are excited to announce the launch of our flagship text-based online therapy program here on TrichStop.com. For years we have been serving the BFRB community by keeping abreast of the latest information and research regarding trichotillomania and other BFRBs. We have served many clients through these times in a variety of formats such as online counselling via skype, as well as the support of a community via our forum. In our interactions with clients we have learned that may clients, although they found skype or telephonic counselling helpful, there was still an element of inflexibility with both client and therapist needing to be present at the same time. Many clients also struggle to talk about their problem in a face-to-face setting.
Biofeedback is the use of alternative therapy to help a person learn how to change negative behaviour and control physical responses and ingrained habits such as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) or body-focused repetitive behaviours. This type of therapy is used to treat or prevent certain mental or health conditions. It helps individuals gain control over normally involuntary body functions.
Online Test for Trichotillomania
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