Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan
Psikiyatrist

What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a psychiatric disorder, in which the individual pulls out his/her own hair or body hair due to uncontrollable compulsions.

What is Trichotillomania?

In trichotillomania, a tendency to pull out hair, eyelash, eyebrows, beard, and hair on various parts of the body is observed. Sometimes, it is observed that the hairs pulled out being eaten and getting piled up in the stomach and intestines.

What causes trichotillomania?

It is thought that trichotillomania is a learned method in coping with stress. Neurological and biological studies draw attention to genetic tendencies and imbalances in neurotransmitters as well. The possibility of emergence could be increased by learning and genetic factors and a history of the disorder in the family. It starts to arise between the ages of six and thirteen. It is considered that the rate of prevalence in women is four times higher than men.

Treatment of Trichotillomania

It was reported that it is in direct proportion to depression, anxiety and stress. Trichotillomania is understood be arising when one’s in an intense mood, like in the idiom “pulling hairs out of anger”. Therefore, in the Trichotillomania treatment, it is initially focused on decreasing the stress, stress management, and the causing factors. Despite not having a direct effect, Trichotillomania is a disorder that affect the social relations of the patients. Many patients tell that they are embarrassed by their appearances and that they act timidly. Thus, it is also considered that Trichotillomania is related to low self-worth.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is used as a part of the psychotherapy, and it is focused on the prevention of the feelings, thoughts and behaviors causing stress, and on the changing of the habits used to relieve stress. Pharmacological treatment aims to regulate the neurotransmitters. Drugs that cease the re-uptake of noradrenaline and serotonin hormones; interventions are made via drugs of SNRI type and those that block dopamine. In a study, it was reported that the bupropion treatment was useful in patients who are resistant to the antidepressants of fluoxetine type. A recent study, however, reported that the obsessive thoughts and trichotillomania declined when “inositol” (also known as vitamin B8) was used.

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