You may have heard a friend, coworker, or family member express a readiness to pull her own hair out over some stressful situation or other. However, many individuals literally do pull their own hair out. If you have a condition known as trichotillomania, you may have noticed that you engage in this potentially damaging habit yourself.
You can take steps to protect your hair against this threat once you have a basic knowledge of trichotillomania’s causes, effects, risk factors, and approaches to treatment and recovery. Take a look at some key questions and answers about this hair loss issue.
What Does Trichotillomania Involve?
People who suffer from trichotillomania have a compulsion to pull out individual hairs in a repetitive manner from the head, eyebrows, pubic area, or other parts of the body. For some sufferers, the condition may only involve certain areas of the head or body to a minor degree. For others, constant hair pulling can result in large bald patches.
Who Suffers From Trichotillomania, and Why?
During childhood, an equal number of boys and girls may experience trichotillomania. In adulthood, however, women represent 80 to 90 percent of reported cases. Hormonal swings may affect the condition, with indications that women experience heightened urges to pull out hairs as they enter their menstrual cycles.
The medical community regards trichotillomania as a kind of obsessive-compulsive behavior, grouping it with issues such as OCD, anxiety, ADHD, and clinical depression. You can engage in this behavior without even realizing it. When you do catch yourself doing it, a fresh burst of anxiety over the problem may make the problem worse.
What Treatment Strategies Can Help Stop Trochotillomania?
As with many other behavioral disorders, trichotillomania often responds well to behavioral therapy. One type of therapy, known as reverse habit training, can help you monitor your hair pulling, replace the habit with other, healthier habits, and motivate yourself to control your compulsion. Certain medications can also reduce hair-pulling urges.
Your therapist can also help you figure out what kinds of triggers set off your bouts of trichotillomania. For some people, those triggers include negative emotions such as boredom, anxiety, tension, or frustration. For others, the act of hair pulling itself produces positive feelings that may reinforce the behavior.
How Can You Support Health Hair Regrowth Following Trichotillomania?
Fortunately, hair can regrow without incident once you’ve put an end to your trichotillomania. Many of the hairs you pulled may have already settled into their resting phase, meaning that you simply removed hairs that would’ve fallen out on their own. The follicles should simply replace these lost hairs with new, healthy ones.
The outlook for hairs pulled during their active growth phase can prove harder to predict. If you’ve damaged the follicles when pulling out these hairs, regrowth may occur slowly or incompletely. The new hairs that grow in to replace the old ones may appear grey or white instead of their natural color.
Full replacement of hair lost to trichotillomania can take years. Even so, the sooner you implement a plan to support your hair follicles’ health and wellness, the greater your odds of achieving impressive regrowth. During the recovery process, steer clear of tight hairstyles or other practices that might stress your hair follicles.
Nutritional support can also make a major difference in helping your hair follicles repair themselves and maintain normal function. Eat a balanced diet. avoiding potential trichotillomania triggers such as sugar and gluten if you have sensitivities to these substances. Supplement your diet with pantothenic acid, zinc, and Vitamins C and E.
Phyllotex’s proprietary blend of Vitamin D, pantothenic acid, magnesium, zinc, and other nutrients can help you give your hair follicles the support they need for optimal health and recovery. Check out our range of products and contact us with any questions you may have.