Trichotillomania – what is this disease? Trichotillomania treatment
Mental disorders can take different courses and derive from various factors. Some of them can be cured thanks to pharmacology and cycles of meetings with a psychologist, while others require continuous hospitalisation. Trichotillomania belongs to a category of minor conditions, but if left untreated, it can have serious consequences and impact upon health. It may lead to a lack of acceptance of own’s appearance and even depression. Trichotillomania treatment must therefore encompass both tasks, the healing of the mind and the body.
What is trichotillomania? And how to diagnose the disease?
Trichotillomania is the name of the disorder, which consists of an urge of pulling out our own hair. The hairs from the head, eyebrows and eyelashes are all pulled out because of many factors. In most cases it is extreme stress, anxiety, depression or other underlying issues that trigger this response behaviour. The disorder is often manifested through eating, chewing or simply pulling. Whichever it is depends on the person as well as the age, because younger sufferers may chew and eat their own hair more often than pull them out. In fact this obsessive-compulsive disorder most often occurs in children aged 12-13.
The disorder can be shocking because it looks and sounds unnatural and eerie. However, when it comes to treatment, it’s not enough to simply persuade a patient to stop pulling the hair. Trichotillomania is an addiction, and many people who have the disorder are prone to rely on the hair pulling method as means of content and relaxation. Of course, the older sufferers are often well aware that their actions caused a formation of bald patches on the scalp or what not, but nonetheless they try to hide them, and willingly continue their addictive behaviours.
Trichotillomania treatment is not easy, because the disorder is usually accompanied by other diseases. For example, the disorder may be associated with the occurrence of hallucinations, delusions, depression, schizophrenia, inflammation of the skin etc.
It is believed that chemical changes in the brain are responsible for the acquisition of the disorder, although some scholars, doctors and researchers also point to a mutation of genes being at fault. Still, others connect the disease purely with depression or lack of proper family ties. Sexual violence or other traumatic experiences may also generate the emergence of the disorder.
Diagnosis of trichotillomania is not difficult, because the impact of the behaviour is visible to the naked eye. There are bald patches on the head, thin eyebrows, head hair and eyelashes or their complete lack in clumps. Diagnosis is also possible thanks to thorough psychological research.
Trichotillomania treatment – psychotherapy and pharmacology
A patient who is suffering from trichotillomania must take medication and use psychotherapy. During the treatment, hair thickening methods at hair loss clinics are advised – so if the patient must pull on something, at least it’s artificial hair, which doesn’t harm our body. Thanks to this the patient will also gain psychological comfort. Trichotillomania treatment and non-surgical hair thickening, as well as other hair-enhancement methods are offered by various clinics on the British market. One with a very good opinion and fantastic reviews is a clinic named Hair Solved.
During the therapy, the patient takes SSRIs, i.e. antidepressants, selective inhibitors of serotonin, and other drugs. But there are also other, more gentle methods of approach. For example, the gradual habit-replacement programme, during which a sufferer works with a psychiatrist to try and replace the negative hair-pulling habit with something more acceptable, and harmless e.g. use of a stress ball or other stress-relief tools during anxious situations.
Remember that frequent talks, meetings and counsel sessions with a psychotherapist and the support of all loved ones are also vital, as the connection we gain through this contact aids the recovery and allows the patient to take relief through expression and familiarity.