Trichotillomania Blog

The Effects of Compulsive Hair Pulling On Self Esteem

There are different levels of severity of trichotillomania, but for many, shame and embarrassment about hair pulling causes painful isolation and results in a great deal of emotional distress, placing them at risk for a co-occurring psychiatric disorders, such as a mood or anxiety disorder. Hair pulling can lead to great tension and strained relationships with family members and friends. Understanding how trichotillomania may affect the different aspects of your life may encourage you to get the help you need and deserve. 

Physical Effects of Hair Pulling

The act of pulling hair can be damaging and risky to the body, especially over long periods of time. Over time, the negative physical attributes associated with hair pulling can present themselves in the following manifestations:

Social Isolation Caused By Hair Pulling

Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that is characterized by an urge to pull out one’s own hair, commonly from the scalp, face, and pubic areas, resulting in noticeable bare spots. Trichotillomania is also defined as a self-induced and on-going hair loss and is referred to informally as hair-pulling disorder. Individuals who develop trichotillomania typically engage in these behaviours in order to release tension, achieve a sense of relief, or generate gratification. Though trichotillomania is a mental health disorder with physical ramifications, it can result in consequences that affect every aspect of your well-being. No matter the length of time one might be suffering with trichotillomania, the effects can be debilitating if not treated or addressed professionally. Understanding how trichotillomania may affect the different aspects of your life may encourage you to get the help you need and deserve.

Trichotillomania and the complete list of BFRBs

What Are The Various BFRBs?

Trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling)

Trichotillomania is one of the main BFRBs and the criteria for diagnosis are as follows:

  • Recurrent pulling out of one’s hair, resulting in hair loss
  • Repeated attempts to decrease or stop the hair-pulling behaviour
  • The hair pulling causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
  • The hair pulling or hair loss cannot be attributed to another medical condition (eg, a dermatologic condition)
  • The hair pulling cannot be better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (eg, attempts to improve a perceived defect or flaw in appearance, such as may be observed in body dysmorphic disorder)


Excoriation disorder (compulsive skin picking)

Depression and Trichotillomania

We are all familiar with the main symptoms of depression: sadness, lethargy, changes in appetite, feelings of hopelessness and failure, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts or feelings. These are all very serious, and hard enough to handle in their own. But what happens when depression moves from the internal to the external? The physical symptoms of depression can be just as distressing as the mental ones: cutting, burning, and other forms of self-harm are common among people struggling with depression, but there are lesser-known conditions that can be triggered by depression. One of the least understood, and often un-diagnosed of these is trichotillomania.

CBT vs DBT vs ACT - Treatments for Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a medical condition that causes people to have the urge to pull out their hair. Patients, who suffer from it, suffer from the physical effects but also from the emotional effects that come with the disorder. The disorder is known to put a strain on people’s relationships as well as cause the sufferer to feel embarrassed and isolated. The causes of the disorder have yet to be identified. There are various ways of treating Trichotillomania with the main three approaches being cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy.

Exercise and Trichotillomania

Medical conditions of all kinds can cause enormous frustration. When sufferers are faced with a medical issue that is ongoing in their lives, they may feel unable to so anything about it. While treatment methods exist to treat many common medical issues, such medical treatments may not alleviate all of the sufferer's medical symptoms. This is particularly true of a condition called trichotillomania or trich. Trich is a disorder that affects many people of varied backgrounds. The condition is one where people may feel the compulsion to pull on their hair. Trich is what is known as an impulse control disorder. Those with this condition frequently feel the urge to literally remove all of their including the hair on their head and the hair on other parts of their body as well. Sufferers usually feel really tense before they pull the hair. Once they have pulled the hair or a few hairs, the tension they feel is released, allowing them to feel better. 

Male vs Female Presentation of Trich

Trichotillomania or simply just “trich” is an disorder on the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Spectrum and is characterized by the irresistible urge to pull out one’s hair and is usually persistent and difficult to treat. This usually leads to hair loss or balding (depending on the affected area of pulling), distress and in many cases, functional or social impairment. This hair pulling disorder affects just a small percentage of the general population (1% to 4%) but unfortunately, it is often a mistreated and underdiagnosed disorder. Although it is usually thought to be a disorder that primarily affects women; the male patients’ clinical presentation may be unique. When assessing and treating this disorder, sex difference may be a major factor. In most cases, there are many similarities in male and female patients of trich, but there are important differences to note as well.


Online Test for Trichotillomania

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