What do Megan Fox, Olivia Munn, Justin Timberlake and Charlize Theron have in common? Interestingly, they all have the disorder called trichotillomania. It’s a condition characterized by hair pulling, which can be a mere frustration or an extremely severe problem, depending on the circumstances. October 1 through October 7 is Trichotillomania Awareness Week, so here’s a look at this disorder and its symptoms. You may recognize yourself in the descriptions.
What Are the Symptoms?
Trichotillomania is considered obsessive-compulsive behavior, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Symptoms include:
Interference with an area of functioning such as work or socialization
Many attempts to minimize or quit hair pulling
Hair loss anywhere on the body (eyebrows and eyelashes included)
In other words, if you regularly pull your hair out to the extent that it interferes with your life and you have to try repeatedly to stop the behavior, you could have trichotillomania (called trich for short). Whether you have another condition such as hives, acne or even alcoholism has no bearing on if you have trich.
However, your environment and genetics may play a role. If you’re feeling a negative emotion such as stress or frustration, it can prompt more hair pulling, and you may not even realize you are doing it. This disorder also affects children a great deal and tends to begin in childhood or puberty. Perhaps most distressing is the fact that your hair follicles may be so damaged to the extent that hair won’t regrow.
How Trich Interferes with Your Life
Have you ever shied away from going to the beach out of fear that wind might whip a scarf off your head and expose bald spots? Do you avoid romantic relationships because you’re afraid to be judged once it becomes evident you have missing hair? Trich can interfere with your life in these ways and many more.
Wigs are one avenue that many people with trich, children and celebrities included, have turned to with success. The wigs lend a sense of realism to their hair, and they begin to feel at ease in more areas of their life. For example, other people can’t tell they have problems with their hair. Also, as feelings of guilt and depression lessen thanks to positive experiences with wigs, many wearers report that they pull their hair less often.
Experiencing hair loss due to a hair pulling disorder can reduce your self-confidence and your social behaviors. At Transitions Hair Loss Centers, we can go over the different hair replacement options available to you, to schedule a confidential consultation with a trained Transitions professional hair loss specialist, click here.
Photo Credit: Gordon Correll Via Flickr Creative Commons