Do you have a habit of pulling your hair whenever you feel confused, worried or stressed? This is a sign of a hair-pulling disorder that can lead to hair loss and scalp damage which will reduce your confidence in communication!
Thick and healthy hair will bring more confidence and attractiveness in daily life when you are living or communicating. However, many people have no way to control the urge to pull out the hair, leading to hair loss and permanent damage to the scalp.
So what is a hair-pulling disorder? And how can we treat this harmful habit? The following article will bring you information, symptoms, as well as the method to help you deal with this annoying syndrome.
What is a hair-pulling disorder?
Hair-pulling disorder, also known as trichotillomania, is a syndrome affecting 1–2% of the world’s population. However, women tend to have this syndrome more than men. The main characteristic of people with this syndrome is that they are forced to pull their hair out anywhere on the head. Many people even pull off their eyebrows and eyelashes!
The level of hair-pulling depends on the time, but the signs to diagnose a person with trichotillomania include hair loss, unable to restrain yourself from doing some certain acts that will significantly damage the hair, and the scalp as well.
In other words, a hair-pulling syndrome is a form of impulse control disorder. People with this syndrome know they may be hurt by pulling their hair but cannot stop doing it. When stressed, they may pull out their hair to try to calm their emotions.
The hair-pulling disorder can lead to consequences such as infection, scalp damage and permanent hair loss. Hair loss and scalp damage can lead to problems of self-esteem and self-image. In extreme cases, some people may even avoid socializing to hide hair loss.
In fact, very few people know about trichotillomania so they are often undiagnosed and untreated. This makes people with the syndrome of hair-pulling addiction feel left alone, embarrassed by their behavior.
Symptoms and causes of hair-pulling
According to many experts, not only actions such as pulling hair repeatedly can be seen as signs of an addict. The causes of this syndrome also include many psychological and neurological factors.
Symptoms of trichotillomania
- Unknowingly twisting, pulling hair as well as other areas such as eyelashes and eyebrows.
- Feel stressed out before trying to pull your hair or when trying to control yourself from the urge to pull.
- Feeling relieved or satisfied after pulling out your hair.
- Feeling sad and difficult at work or life due to hair pulling habit.
- Many areas of hair are shed because the hair is pulled out.
- There are some behaviors such as checking hair roots, rotating hair, pulling the hair on teeth, chewing or eating hair.
Many people with trichotillomania even try to deny they have a problem and may try to hide their hair loss. These people often feel ashamed of themselves and hide it by wearing hats, scarves and wearing false eyelashes.
The causes of trichotillomania
The exact cause of the hair-pulling syndrome is currently unknown. However, the disease can be caused by abnormalities in the brain that related to areas of emotional control, movement, habit formation, and impulse control.
- Due to psychological disorders and genetic: The doctor may refer a person with symptoms of hair-pulling to a psychiatrist or psychologist to see if the person actually has an action control disorder or not. Some people with the hair-pulling syndrome may experience depression or bipolar disorder. The disease may also be related to genetic factors.
- Due to frequent anxiety: One study found that of 894 people with the hair-pulling syndrome, 84% were due to anxiety-related problems. The more nervous you become, the more and more often you want to pull your hair. In some cases, pulling hair helps release emotions.
- Due to stress or pressure: One of the reasons for this syndrome is that pulling on your hair helps reduce stress and pressure. When a person is worried, the pressure on their body will increase. Focusing on pulling your hair is like an action to distract your attention from the pressure, and focusing on the action in your hand helps reduce stress.
- Due to unconsciousness or loss of control: Anxiety causes the body to lose the ability to control cognitive behavior, so the pulse control mechanism does not work effectively. For some people, pulling out their hair makes them happy or satisfied. Not all people make conscious hair pulling. Many cases are due to unconscious habits and even they do not pay attention to what is happening.
How to deal with trichotillomania?
Hair-pulling syndrome is a chronic disease, but today, there are many effective measures to treat and control this syndrome.
- Behavioral change therapy: Basically, this therapy aims to replace bad habits with other non-harmful habits. When treated with this therapy, firstly, people with a hair-pulling disorder will record their behavioral experiences. They then learn how to relax and do some other harmless behaviors but help reduce stress.
- Clenched fists: Many people have a habit of pulling their hair when the hand is inactive or in a relaxed state. Therefore, people who have this syndrome are advised to hold or not stretch their hands which they often use plucked hair to limit their behavior.
- Practice positive thinking: Negative thoughts about yourself can lead to hair-pulling behavior due to anxiety and stress. This therapy can also focus on addressing unhelpful thoughts, improving self-esteem and confidence to reduce the urge to pull hair.
- Medication use: Medication may also be part of the treatment program. Medication for depression called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) may be helpful in helping to curb very intense compulsions.
To prevent trichotillomania, you need to learn how to relieve stress and manage it. At the same time, maintain healthy habits such as exercise, meditation to keep your body healthy and reduce negative thoughts.
You should learn to accept that hair-pulling is a disease and soon find ways to deal with it instead of tormenting or blaming yourself. Try to listen to yourself more and follow good habits to minimize the risks of hair-pulling disorder!
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