Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania)
Service provided by Dr. Corrick Woodfin, Registered Psychologist
Trichotillomania (trick-o-til-o-MAY-nee-ah) is a disorder which causes people pull out the hair from their scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, pubic area, underarms, beard, chest, legs or other parts of the body, resulting in noticeable bald patches. Hair pulling varies greatly in its severity, location on the body, and response to treatment. For some people, trichotillomania is mild and can be managed with extra awareness and concentration. For others, the urge may be so strong that it makes thinking of anything else nearly impossible.
Trichotillomania (also referred to as TTM or “trich”) is currently defined as an impulse control disorder but there are still questions about how it should be classified. It may seem to resemble a habit, an addiction, a tic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Most recently, it is being conceptualized as part of a family of “body-focused repetitive behaviors” (BFRBs) along with skin picking and nail biting.
What treatments are available?
Research into treatments for trichotillomania has grown steadily over the past decade. Although no one treatment has been found to be effective for everyone, a number of treatment options have shown promise for some people with TTM. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques, such as Habit-Reversal Training and the Comprehensive Model for Behavioral Treatment of Trichotillomania, have shown to be the most effective treatments for trichotillomania.
The information above has been summarized from the Trichotillomania Learning Centre (TLC) which is an excellent resource for further information (TLC is based in the United States).
For information on services and support groups based in Canada, please refer to the Canadian Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours Support Network (CBSN).
If you have any addition questions, or would like to book a appointment please call or email me.