What Exactly Is Trichotillomania?
Pulling, twirling, plucking, twisting, tugging, or playing with your hair - are all of these just harmless behaviors? It is reported that for around 4% of the populace, hair pulling is indeed much more than simply a poor habit. The action of compulsively participating in repetitive hair pulling that results in noticeable hair thinning is categorized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM5) as trichotillomania or compulsive hair pulling disorder. Trichotillomania, as well as additional compulsive behaviors such as compulsive skin picking and nail biting, are categorized as the umbrella term Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). However, these compulsions usually do not all of a sudden appear overnight. Those that experience these disorders tend to be unable to pinpoint specifically when the behavior initially started. It really is a behavior that might easily have began as a habit, but through repeated engagement, plus some kind of positive reinforcement the habitual hair pulling eventually evolves right into a disorder.
From Habit To Disorder
First, we should address the question, “Exactly what is a habit?” Based on the Oxford English Dictionary, a habit is "a settled or regular inclination or practice, especially one which is hard to stop", and in psychological terms it is "an automated reaction to a particular situation". Many people who have a hair pulling disorder can relate to this of a habit as an apt explanation of their hair pulling. Nevertheless, even though negative traits are unwanted or have a poor impact on your present well-being, it can trigger significant dysfunction. The mixture of the individual not having the ability to stop participating in the behavior despite attempting to, with significant impairment, signals the starting point of a disorder.
How Do I Know If I Have Trichotillomania?
Based on the DSM 5, the diagnostic requirements for trichotillomania includes:
Hair pulling could be targeted in any section of the body where there is hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, even the pubic region. The compulsion could be so significant that the average person can spend hours pulling. Not merely does this possess a poor impact on the individuals day-to-day functioning, the after-results of a pulling event often includes emotions of shame and guilt.
Trichotillomania is definitely an incredibly debilitating condition, but is frequently misunderstood by those people who are not suffering from the disorder. Close friends and family members, with good intentions, frequently tell the individual to just stop as there may be the perception that all the person needs is will power.
Can Trichotillomania Be Treated?
Unfortunately, there continues to be very little knowledge of trichotillomania and other BFRBs, therefore these disorders frequently go undiagnosed and the ones battling with the disorder are still left feeling alone, ashamed and embarrassed simply by their behavior. Much like all mental illness, knowledge of your distress and acknowledgement that your struggling is one of the first steps you can take.
Trichotillomania can be a chronic condition. Much just like a physical chronic condition like diabetes, it really is a condition that must definitely be managed; not really cured.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has tested to be the very best kind of therapy in dealing with BFRBs including Trichotillomania. As someone who is trained in treating BFRB’s including trichotillomania, I have seen much success in my clients. Even those who have gone 30 years plus pulling hair. Seek for a therapist who can help you with your hair pulling today.
I have been practicing for the past 10 years. I'd like to talk about what is on my mind as a therapist. In turn, I hope to help my readers and clients.