Trichotillomania, also known as TTM or “Trich” is a hair-pulling disorder involving strong urges to repetitively pull out hair from the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or other parts of the body. It is one of set of Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, or BFRBs, that compel people to consciously or unconsciously cause damage to themselves by repeatedly touching their hair or parts of their body.
In addition to hair-pulling (trichotillomania), BFRBs include:
- Compulsive nail-biting (onychophagia)
- Compulsive skin-picking/excoriation (dermatillomania)
- Compulsive nail picking, lip biting, hair and scab eating, and other grooming related actions
Considered now to be OCD related, TTM affects some 1-2 percent of Americans at some time in their life, starting in late childhood and early adolescence, and is seen mostly in women by adulthood.
Trichotillomania sufferers report various experiences with their hair-pulling, ranging from being aware and intentional in what they’re doing, to doing it automatically or “unconsciously” as a habit.
The seriousness of Trichotillomania also varies widely, with many people experiencing significant hair loss, which they try to hide. Sufferers may use wigs, hairstyles, scarves and makeup to cover bald spots on the head. For missing eyebrows, eyelashes or body hair, people may attempt to disguise the areas with clothing, makeup or other methods of concealment.
If you are experiencing shame, embarrassment or depression, and avoiding activities where your hair-pulling or other BFRBs might be discovered, it’s time to seek professional treatment.
The Anxiety and OCD Treatment Center of Florida successfully treats children, teens and adults with Trichotillomania (TTM) and other BFRBs using a combination of education and the most up to date evidence based treatment: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Habit Reversal Therapy (HRT), Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention Therapy (CBIT), as well as Medication Management.