This is a condition which involves pulling out body hairs to the point where there is significant hair loss. Hair from any part of the body may be targeted, including the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, pubic and perirectal areas. People with this condition usually notice that they feel either tension before the hair-pulling, or that they feel tension when they try not to give in to the impulse. Usually trichotillomaniacs feel significant distress about their conditions.
People have been known to have removed all the hairs from their heads. It is thought that as many males as females have the condition in childhood. Hair-pulling often peaks in the 5-8 year old population and then again at 13. Adults who have the condition report that the onset was in childhood and most adults with the condition are apparently women.
It is difficult to know for sure as male pattern baldness is more socially acceptable in men. Women are often more willing to seek help for their condition. Hair pulling is often done in secret or in the company of family members. It may be denied and efforts made to conceal it as in the wearing of a hat or a hairpiece. Many children indulge in hair-pulling on a temporary basis, and this would not be classified as trichotillomania.
For it to be classified as such the hair-pulling needs to be over time, causing significant distress or impairment in important areas of functioning.
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Information in this article is purely for educational purposes. If you suspect you may be suffering from trichotillomania please seek appropriate help from your doctor or a properly qualified mental health clinician.