Dealing with trichotillomania may often feel like an isolating experience, but you’re certainly not alone, nor is it anything to be ashamed of. It may also feel at times as if trichotillomania is impossible to overcome, but that’s not true either. Here are some trichotillomania success stories to inspire your journey to wellness.
What is Trichotillomania?
While you may want to dive into the trichotillomania success stories, it’s important to truly understand the nature of the disorder if you want to tackle it head on.
Trichotillomania is more commonly known as a hair pulling disorder that causes the urge to pull the hairs off various parts of one’s body.
The hair pulling can neither be attributed nor better explained by another mental or medical condition.
Symptoms of Trichotillomania
Trichotillomania is characterized by an irresistible urge to pull the hair from your scalp, eyelashes, or anywhere else on your body, despite attempts on your part to stop.
Hair Pulling Sensations
Often, one may experience a sense of tension before pulling or when one resists pulling, and it is followed by a sense of relief after the hair is pulled.
The hair pulling is often accompanied by a certain ritual such as playing with the hair, running it across your lips, or even swallowing the hairs. It can often serve as a self soothing tactic when one is bored or anxious.
Focused trichotillomania is intentional hair pulling with the aforementioned rituals. This could also consist of wanting to pull only certain types of hairs based on texture, length, or color, or having a routine after the hair is out like biting it or playing with it.
Automatic trichotillomania is essentially hair pulling without even realizing it, such as while you’re eating, scrolling on your phone, or watching TV.
What Can Go Wrong
Over time, trichotillomania can develop into serious health defects. If you pull too much from the same spots, it may stop growing entirely due to skin infections or rashes.
Additionally, if you have the habit of eating your hair after as you pull it, hairballs can start to form in your stomach, which can lead to several illnesses and possibly intestinal surgery.
How to Treat Trichotillomania
While trichotillomania can be straightforward to diagnose, many patients hide their condition out of shame or embarrassment. This is why it is especially important to be honest with yourself and your healthcare providers. Diagnosis should be made by a qualified mental health clinician with expertise in BFRB’s or Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors.
Treatment often involves a combination of therapy and medication. Common forms of therapy include habit reversal therapy, habit reversal techniques, or group therapy, while common medications include antidepressants that address underlying depression and/or anxiety symptoms.
Trichotillomania Success Stories
You are not the only one dealing with trichotillomania and you are not the only one who wonders if there is treatment or a cure for your condition. In fact, many patients have improved dramatically and even stopped pulling altogether, remaining pull-free for the rest of their lives.
Here are some trichotillomania success stories from Dr. Ori’s clients.
Elementary School Teacher, 29 Years Old
“A 29-year-old elementary school teacher had grappled with compulsive hair pulling for
15 years…She presented with severely scarred skin and had frequent
breakouts because she constantly pulled any small hair she would find on her face.”
“We focused on tracking several data points around her pulling and she quickly learned
how to use habit reversal techniques to gain awareness [and] control her urge…Within four months’ time, she was able to fully eradicate her body focused repetitive behaviors.”
Law Student, 27 Years Old
“A 27-year-old law school student came to me after a 4-year history of hair pulling..She
was eager to get the pulling under control before her law school graduation ceremony,
in which she was chosen to give a speech.”
“…By the end of her 5th month, she was completely pull-free and the bald spots filled in just ahead of her graduation day!
Nine Year Old Boy
“A 9-year-old boy was brought to treatment by his father who reported that his adopted
son was pulling scalp, eyelash, and eyebrow hairs since the age of six. The boy had
extraordinary hair loss on his scalp and most of his eyelashes were missing…”
“By the fourth week of treatment, the boy was reporting no scalp pulling. By the 12th session, he reported no pulls from either scalp or eyelashes…”
“At the five consecutive pull-free week mark, I typically offer to titrate weekly sessions to
biweekly sessions. We focused on relapse prevention every other week until the boy,
his father, and I felt comfortable enough to terminate treatment…”
Architect, 34 Years Old
“A 34-year-old architect had been suffering with a chronic hair pulling and nail-biting
compulsion since she was 5 years old…The destruction was widespread, leaving her with nails half the size they should be and no eyebrows…”
“By the 10th session, she reported only occasional biting and most of her
eyebrows regrown. By week 12, she felt 100% improved, with no pulling or biting for two
“By the 15th session, she scheduled her first manicure in a decade and
even got her eyebrows trimmed!’
As you can see with these trichotillomania success stories, healing is certainly possible. It may not be an overnight journey, but you will overcome this.
With focus, patience, and the right people on your team, you’ll be one step closer to taking back your life.