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jojop09 , 07 Feb 2018

Help don't know what to do or how to help my daughter

So I am really not sure what to do!

I noticed one morning my 7yr olds head felt like it had been shaved her and her sisters insisted they did not do it she insisted she had no idea how it happened!

Anyone one night I noticed she was scraping the hair between her nails causing it to break but then also pulling strands out!

Been to doctors they referred her to Paediatrics and they have now sent a letter saying they can not help and will get a local clinic to help.

In the space of a week, she has gone from being able to have a bobble to it just been the sides and back because the top is to short!

I feel like I have no idea what to do or help her because in another week time there will be no hair left :( The doctor said don't make her stop in case it is a coping mechanism to feelings instead try distract her but don't directly tell her not to do it as it might make her worse.

The school is concerned and they are telling her to stop when they see her doing it cause it is all day.

1 Answer
February 08, 2018
I am going to copy and paste a post i made on the site last night. Hope you can find something that is helpful to you and your daughter. I can't say enough good things about the workbook i mention. After dealing with this for several months i am learning that it may be a long road but i try to celebrate the small successes. My daughter finally talks to me about it which is HUGE. But sometimes she is still reluctant to do so because it's uncomfortable for her. So i have to engage when i think she's in a place to be receptive. Hope this helps.....

I am the mother of a child who recently developed this. In August of last year my 10 year old daughter had a full, thick head of hair. Fast forward just a few short months and she has pulled out almost all of her hair with the exception of her bang area, the base of her neck and the right side seems to have more hair than the left. She too struggles to cover up the new growth and or bald patches with what little hair is left. Looking back to what happened in August/September timeframe she started her period for the first time, her father remarried a woman who has a child (transition of blending two families), and school started back for the year after a summer break. So, she had a lot of changes that triggered her to start hair pulling. But as i think back over her life I remember that she used to bang her head in her crib (a rocking motion) to the point of causing a large bald spot on the top of her crown. She also had to be touching, twirling and rubbing her particular blanket over her nose and mouth until the age of 7. When she put the baby blanket down at age 7 she started doing sign language (she just knows the alphabet) with both hands all day and night. She's gone through periods of nail and cuticle biting as well. So for basically her whole life she has had some coping mechanism to relieve stress that involves the senses. She recently started counseling, and was put on an SSRI (Prozac) to help. While we have not seen a miracle happen yet we are hopeful. One of the things i have noticed that has helped the most is for her to "dump" any worry at all that is on her mind in a mom/daughter talk or dad/daughter talk (depending on which house she is at that week). No worry is too small to mention in these talks we have at night, as we have discovered that regardless of how small the problem is it seems to amplify in her mind as she is trying to go to sleep. Trying to go to sleep alone in her bed seems to be the hardest time for her to avoid pulling. She has agreed to let us use a code word when we see her pulling. This draws her attention to it during the times that she is unaware that she is doing it. other times she is aware that she is doing it and those are the times when she is hidden in her room with the door shut because she has the urge to pull. These times are typically when she does the most damage to her scalp and pulls the most hair. So we are trying to limit her alone time and if she is feeling the urge to pull privately she is asking herself if there is something bothering her that maybe she needs to say out loud to her dad or me so she can get it off her chest. Usually when she acts on this it reduces the urge to pull. But she doesn't consistently use this coping mechanism yet. We are also using a workbook (1chapter a night) called The Hair Pulling Habit and You: How to Solve the Trichotillomania Puzzle. It is for kids and adults and would be a great read for anyone who loves and cares about someone with Trich. We got ours on Amazon. Have since ordered an additional one for her dads house and one for her to keep with her at all times. One of the first things i remember reading in the book is that over 5million people in the US suffer from this to varying degrees. So, you are NOT alone! I have also sought out some people who have conquered trich and when they tell me I'm on the right path to helping her it gives me hope. I think the hopelessness, shame and guilt that come along with the hair loss from pulling actually make the pulling worse. So i try to get her to focus on the fact that she is not to blame and that she cant stop pulling without help the same way a patient with cancer needs chemo. There is no shame in this! No reason to feel guilty. It seems we take two steps forward with all we are doing and then one step back when for instance she pulls out the hair that had just started to grow back and was finally laying flat on her head again. But as long as we are taking more steps forward than backward there is progress. May be slow progress but it's progress none the less. Sometimes i think it's important to remember that it is getting better even when her hair doesn't show it. Easier said than done but try not to measure your progress on how much hair is left on your head or the number of bald patches because this isn't really a reflection of the work being done on the inside. This is a very visible disorder bit the image in the mirror doesn't always match the healing that's going in inside. I know i may not have offered a lot of tangible advice but i wanted to share our story with you and anyone else who is reading this. I know reading others stories has helped her not feel alone (me too) and being surrounded and supported by those who truly understand also has tremendous healing power. I wish you all the best in your search for answers. Prayers to you and everyone suffering from trich.

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