Trichstop.com has launched its flagship online therapy program based on proven cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques. We have created this infograph summarizing what CBT entails and its application in the treatment of trichotillomania. This is what you can expect if you sign up with the program, and will be supported by a skilled therapist to guide and support you on your journey to recovery.
Individuals who suffer from trichotillomania often pull one hair at a time and these hair pulling episodes can last for hours at a time. Trichotillomania can go into remission, whereby the individual suffering from the condition may not experience the urge to pull for days, weeks, months and often even years in some likely cases. It may manifest itself in a very mild casual form to a condition that is all consuming. In such cases where the condition is destructive, the patient is often suffering from stress or tension, and relief is sought by pulling hair out. This habit is therefore thought to be a form of self-soothing to assuage feelings of extreme anxiety and depression. The question then is, what causes a person to cause such unwanted damage to themselves?
As many as 1-3 per cent of the population compulsively pull out hairs mostly from the scalp, eyelashes or eyebrows. Trichotillomania is on the increase with ever more cases reported on an annual basis. The presence of Trichotillomania is believed to be severely underestimated because professionals often do not inquire about it. Patients may experience such shame with trichotillomania that they hide their hair pulling, suffering silently and feeling terribly isolated for many years before seeking treatment. Some people may pull hair during one period in their lives, only to have it stop as quickly as it started. However, for many others, it is a recurrent problem that will resurface again if left untreated. Pulling out hair on the head can leave bald patches which reiforces negative feelings, such as shame and guilt. The person may also feel embarrassed about pulling their hair out, and may try to deny it or cover it up.
Trichster follows seven individuals, ranging from eight years old to late twenties, as they navigate the complicated emotions surrounding trichotillomania and the effect it has on their daily lives. Whether dealing with family and friends to budding relationships and careers, each is affected differently and have unique obstacles to overcome. Ultimately each must decide how much they allow their disorder to define who they are as people.Trichster is a story of overcoming life’s challenges and finding the inner strength to accept your true self. It is the goal of this documentary to present this disorder honestly and accurately while showing the emotional and human side of each sufferer. By raising awareness both inside and outside the trich community, they are hoping to generate interest and ultimately empower those who are suffering silently to come forward and seek help.
One of the most effective CBT developments for the treatment of Trichotillomania is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The primary goal is to learn to non-judgmentally accept uncomfortable psychological experiences. From a mindfulness perspective, much of our psychological distress is the result of trying to control and eliminate the discomfort of unwanted thoughts, feelings, sensations, and urges. In other words, our discomfort is not the problem - our attempt to control and eliminate our discomfort is the problem. For those with Trichotillomania, the ultimate goal of mindfulness is to develop the ability to more willingly experience their uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, sensations, and urges, without pulling their hair. Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of interest in the concept of "mindfulness" as it applies to mental health treatment.
The Trichotillomania Learning Centre (TLC) is a non-profit organization helping thousands of adults and children with trichotillomania, skin picking disorder and related body-focussed repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) since 1991. TLC has been instrumental in spreading awareness about skin picking disorder and have been at the forefront of the battle against the stigma of BFRBs. TLC hosts regular events such as conferences and workshops to educate, inform and share resources with the BFRB community. Particiapants of their previous events have described them as life-changing. On June 20, 2015, TLC will be hosting such an event in London, UK. This workshop is a fundraiser, proceeds support the costs of the event and development of TLC outreach programs in the UK and across the globe.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies. ACT teaches clients to become present in each moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior that is in line with chosen life values or goals. Based on Relational Frame Theory, ACT highlights the ways that language reinforces or refutes thoughts and beliefs and how this in turn can be used as apowerful tool to counter the negative thought processes that influence out behaviors. Clients learn how to make healthy contact with thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations that have been feared and avoided.
Hair pulling disorder is thought to sometimes stem from habitual behavior and evolves into something more serious. In children this could be related to sensory experiences such as being over or under stimulated and therefore either seeking out sensory input or trying to self-soothe. It may also be something more simple such as itchy eyelash that your child gets into the habit of rubbing or pulling, even after the original itchiness is gone. For many parents this can be worrysome, especially when there is noticeable hair loss. One mother expressed her concerns by seeking advice from the health expert from The Irish Times:
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. Bald spots appear and still…you can’t stop yourself. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
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