Trichotillomania: The Hair-Pulling Disorder

Trichotillomania: The Hair-Pulling Disorder

Do you find yourself pulling out your hair without even realizing it? If so, you may be suffering from OCD trichotillomania, a disorder characterized by compulsive hair-pulling. While the cause of trichotillomania is unknown, it is believed to be related to anxiety or stress. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms and treatment options for trichotillomania.

What Is OCD Trichotillomania?

What Is OCD Trichotillomania?

OCD trichotillomania is an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in which someone has the compulsion to pull out their own hair, often from the scalp, eyelashes, and eyebrows. This can lead to significant hair loss and noticeable bald spots on the head or face. It’s important to note that trichotillomania is not simply a bad habit or an act of self-grooming, but rather it’s an illness that requires specialized treatment.


There are various symptoms:

  • Feeling tired and run down
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever with chills
  • Night sweats
  • Coughing up blood or phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest, abdomen, joints, or bones
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Wheezing or a hoarse voice
  • Skin changes, including rashes and lumps
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Seizures or confusion (in advanced stages)

It’s important to note that some people with Tb may not experience any symptoms, while others may experience symptoms that could be mistaken for those of a cold or flu. If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s important to consult your doctor immediately so they can run tests to confirm if you have TB. Treatment is necessary in order to prevent the infection from spreading and potentially causing more serious complications.

If you have been diagnosed with TB, you will need to take a course of antibiotics for several months. It’s important to finish the entire treatment in order to ensure that all of the bacteria are killed and prevent relapse. Your doctor may also recommend other treatments, such as lifestyle changes or surgery, depending on your case.


There are various causes of OCD trichotillomania:


OCD trichotillomania may be caused by a combination of genetic factors, such as changes in certain genes that control emotions and behavior.

Stress and Trauma

Stressful or traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one, bullying, or abuse, can increase an individual’s risk of developing OCD trichotillomania.

Brain Chemistry

Imbalances in certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, have been linked to an increased risk of developing OCD trichotillomania.

Environmental Factors

The environment can also influence the development of OCD trichotillomania. For example, certain social or cultural influences may play a role.


Some people with OCD trichotillomania tend to be perfectionists and have difficulty dealing with stress and change. This can make them more likely to develop the disorder.

Does Trichotillomania Releases Dopamine?

Studies suggest that trichotillomania is associated with dopamine dysregulation, which may explain why it is difficult to resist the urge to pull hair. However, no conclusive research shows whether or not trichotillomania releases dopamine when an individual pulls their hair. It has been hypothesized that pulling hairs may be a way to satisfy a craving, which is linked to the release of dopamine. It has also been suggested that people with trichotillomania may have an imbalance in their dopaminergic system and that this imbalance could contribute to their difficulty controlling the urge to pull hair. Further research is needed to determine if there is a link between dopamine release and trichotillomania.

Is Trichotillomania Affect life?

Trichotillomania can have a significant impact on an individual’s life. For some, it may interfere with daily tasks and activities, such as going to work or school, socializing with friends and family, participating in hobbies, etc. It can also lead to feelings of guilt and shame due to the inability to stop pulling and can result in feelings of depression or low self-esteem. Additionally, the physical effects of pulling can be unsightly and embarrassing, leading to a decreased sense of confidence in social situations. In severe cases, it may even require medical intervention if damage to the hair or scalp is extensive.

It is important for individuals with trichotillomania to seek professional help so that their condition can be properly managed. Trichotillomania is a treatable disorder, and there are several evidence-based treatments available.

How Trichotillomania Is Diagnosed?

Trichotillomania is typically diagnosed after a physical examination and an evaluation of the patient’s medical history. During the physical exam, a doctor will look for signs of excessive hair loss or bald patches on the scalp. They may also examine any broken hairs to determine if they were pulled out deliberately.

The doctor may then ask the patient questions about their hair-pulling habits, such as how often they do it and what triggers them to pull. They may also ask if there have been any changes in lifestyle or other mental health issues that may be causing the behavior.

Finally, the doctor will look for signs of depression, anxiety, OCD, or any other mental disorders that could be causing trichotillomania. If these are present, they may recommend further testing or treatment plans to address them.

Once a diagnosis is made, it is important to start a treatment plan right away in order to reduce hair-pulling behaviors and prevent further damage.

Why Do People With Trichotillomania Pull Their Hair?

People with trichotillomania have been found to pull their hair for a variety of reasons, including:

Stress relief

Pulling hair may act as a form of self-soothing or stress relief.


People with trichotillomania may feel pleasure or satisfaction from the act of pulling their hair or when they see the results.

Repetitive behavior

Pulling hair may become a compulsive, repetitive behavior pattern that provides temporary relief from anxiety and other negative emotions.


People with trichotillomania may pull their hair when bored or to pass time.


In some cases, people may pull their hair to draw attention from others or feel more in control.

A way of self-expression

For some people with trichotillomania, pulling their hair can be a way of expressing emotions that are difficult to put into words.

It is important to note that everyone with trichotillomania may have different motivations for pulling their hair, and those reasons can vary over time. It is also possible that more than one of these factors could be contributing to the behavior at any given time. Understanding why a person pulls their hair can help them develop strategies to manage and reduce the urge to pull. If you have any questions or concerns about your own trichotillomania, please speak with a mental health professional for further discussion and support.

What Are The Treatment Options For OCD Trichotillomania?

Treatment for OCD trichotillomania usually involves a combination of therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

is a type of therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors. CBT has been found to be the most effective form of treatment for OCD trichotillomania.

In addition to CBT, medications may also be used to treat OCD trichotillomania. Commonly prescribed medications for this disorder include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and antipsychotics.

Acceptance and commitment therapy

This form of therapy encourages a person to accept their thoughts and feelings without judgment, while also working to commit to values-driven behaviors. Developing new ways of responding to intrusive thoughts can be beneficial in reducing symptoms associated with OCD trichotillomania.

Support groups

Being part of a supportive network can reduce feelings of isolation and provide an outlet for sharing experiences with others who understand. This can also provide emotional and practical support, as well as strategies for managing symptoms.


In some cases, medication may be recommended to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with OCD trichotillomania. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional for advice on medications and any potential side effects.

Habit Reversal Training

Habit reversal training is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses on changing unwanted behaviors. It involves identifying triggers for the behavior, developing new strategies to cope with these triggers, and learning how to resist the urge to pull hair.


Talking with a mental health professional can be an effective way to manage OCD trichotillomania in the long term. This type of treatment may involve identifying and addressing underlying psychological causes of the symptoms, such as depression or anxiety. Therapists may also provide guidance on how to cope with daily life challenges and help develop positive coping strategies.

Relaxation Techniques

Learning relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness, breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation, can help reduce stress levels and manage urges to pull hair. Regular practice of these techniques can help create a sense of balance in daily life.

Lifestyle changes

They are an important part of treatment for OCD trichotillomania and can help reduce symptoms. These modifications can include practicing relaxation techniques and increasing pleasurable activities. It is important to create a routine to help manage stress levels, as well as limit or avoid the use of substances that may exacerbate symptoms.

It’s important to stay open-minded when considering treatment options for OCD trichotillomania. A combination of therapeutic techniques and lifestyle modifications may be necessary to find relief from symptoms and lead a healthier life. With the right support and help, OCD trichotillomania can be managed and individuals can live a life free from the disorder’s effects.

If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD trichotillomania, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. With the right treatment plan, people living with this disorder are able to manage their symptoms and lead happier life.

Thanks for reading! We hope this article has been helpful in providing information about treatment options for OCD trichotillomania.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional for more information or support.


It may be concluded that OCD trichotillomania is a mental disorder that can have serious consequences. It is essential to seek professional help from a qualified therapist if you or someone you know are struggling with these symptoms. With the right treatment, it is possible to reduce the urges and ultimately improve the quality of life. Additionally, there are support groups available for those affected by OCD trichotillomania that can be a source of support, understanding, and advice. Taking steps to address the disorder is important for anyone struggling with OCD trichotillomania. With time, it may be possible to overcome this condition and lead a happier life.

For more information and guidance, please contact OCDMantra.  If you have any queries regarding OCD treatmentERP therapy experienced therapists at OCDMantra can help: Book a trial OCD therapy session

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