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Almost 11 million Americans, mostly women, suffer from trichotillomania, commonly referred to as “trich.” Accepting “trichinAlmost 11 million Americans, mostly women, suffer from trichotillomania, commonly referred to as “trich.” ess” can help affected individuals manage it, and managing trich starts by understanding it.

Understanding Trich

Trich is a behavior, not an obsessive compulsive disorder. The National Institute of Health classifies it as an impulse control disorder that prevents an individual from resisting the urge to pull hair from her body. Trich sometimes surfaces in conjunction with a mood disorder, such as depression or anxiety, and hair-pulling episodes usually begin with a period of tension, making the act of pulling hair a pleasurable form of stress release.

Symptoms of trich usually manifest in adolescence, but adult-onset trichotillomania has occurred in individuals up to 60 years old. The scalp usually takes the brunt of the hair pulling, but target areas can include the eyelashes, beard and eyebrows, and to a lesser extent the trunk, pubic region and armpits.

Although a person might feel she meets the diagnostic criteria of trich, she should consult a dermatologist or primary care physician to exclude any other medical conditions that might cause similar symptoms.

You’re Not Alone

Trich doesn’t have to impede success. Several pop-culture icons and public figures, such as actors Olivia Munn, Charlize Theron and Megan Fox, have went public with their condition.

Olivia Munn’s eyelashes are on the receiving end of her trichiness. Charlize Theron conceded her trich diagnosis on the Australian radio program, “Kyle and Jackie O,” as well as her acceptance of it. And Megan Fox, who speaks openly about her severe trichotillomania, has sought hospital treatment three times for the disorder.

Fame isn’t a prerequisite for trichotillomania management. Trich doesn’t recognize social status, and the same support systems and treatments that alleviate the symptoms of celebrities can help anyone.

It Gets Better

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to effective management of trichotillomania. Psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy comprise the primary methods of trich treatment, with the former focusing on modifying the thoughts and emotions that lead to hair pulling, while the latter utilizes medication to ameliorate the condition.

Are you suffering from trich? At Transitions Hair Loss Centers we offer real hair loss solutions for anyone experiencing hair loss for any reason. To set up a free hair loss evaluation with one of our hair loss specialists visit one of our locations by clicking here.

 

Photo Credit: AlexRuttloff Via Flickr Creative Commons

 

References:

Franklin, M. E., Zagrabbe, K., & Benavides, K. L. (2011). Trichotillomania and its treatment: a review and recommendations. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 11(8), 1165–1174. http://doi.org/10.1586/ern.11.93

Psych Central: Compulsive Hair Pulling: Understanding and Treating Trichotillomania

OCD UK: Trichotillomania (TTM)

National Organization for Rare Disorders: Trichotillomania

Health Research Funding.org: Famous People with Trichotillomania