Trichotillomania Blog

Why participate in research

To put it simply, research makes the treatment world go round. Effective treatments based on credible information need to come from the results of research and research needs participants. This article will explain why research is so important for the BFRB community.

To improve understanding about BFRBs

Before treatments can be developed, first we must understand that which needs treatment. When considering the history of BFRBs or any other mental illness, there is a long trajectory of misunderstanding. For example, BFRBs were once considered a “bad habit” and treatment sought to teach people strategies to counter the habit. Then, the research groups that developed the DSM-5 that was released in 2013 found enough evidence to group BFRBs within the obsessive-compulsive spectrum of disorders. In the past five years, however, new research indicates that BFRBs have traits like tic disorders which makes a difference for treatment. Ultimately, every bit of research leads to more information that helps us understand disorders so that people who suffer from them can get help.

Research Participants Needed


Social Concerns in Adults with

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Researchers are currently examining the role of social concerns associated with body-focused repetitive behaviors via Qualtrics. Participants must be ages 18-60 and have any of the following BFRBs:

  • Compulsive hair pulling (Trichotillomania)
  • Compulsive skin picking (Excoriation)
  • Compulsive nail biting
  • Compulsive nail picking
  • Compulsive teeth grinding
  • Compulsive cheek biting
  • Other BFRB

All study procedures will be completed in an online survey via Qualtrics. All participants will be placed in a raffle drawing for a chance to win one of five $20 Amazon gift cards.

The power of pictures

Have you ever taken pictures of your hair to keep track of how much hair you lose over time due to pulling? It is a technique that research says is effective for assessment and evaluation, but did you know it can be used to show progress in treatment?   

A study conducted in 2016 set out to find out if taking photos of someone during treatment for trichotillomania had any effect on behaviors or quality of life. There were some difficulties setting up this study so it conformed with parameters of a well-designed study. However, those who took before and after pictures during treatment demonstrated a positive response to using photos. Whether the photos themselves had any impact on a person’s pulling behaviors is unknown, but those who saw visible progress reported feeling better about treatment.

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.


Online Test for Trichotillomania

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