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Trichotillomania (TTM)

Trichotillomania (TTM) or “trich” is characterized by the repeated urge to pull out scalp hair, eyelashes, facial hair, nose hair, pubic hair, eyebrows or other body hair, sometimes resulting in noticeable bald patches. Trichotillomania often begins during an individual’s teenage years, and depression or stress can trigger or exacerbate this condition.

What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a type of compulsive behavior, and people with this condition often feel an overwhelming urge to pull their hair. Those with Trichotillomania may also have other compulsive habits including nail biting or skin picking. People with Trichotillomania often hide their behavior due to embarrassment and shame resulting in depression and a diminished self-esteem. Trichotillomania is a medical condition, but with appropriate treatment, it is a treatable condition.

The primary treatment modality for Trichotillomania is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called Habit Reversal Training (HRT). The aim of HRT is to help people learn to recognize their impulses to pull, and then teach them to redirect these impulses by utilizing alternative behaviors in response to these situations and events. It involves increasing one’s awareness of their behavior about when, where, and how it occurs. This predictability allows a person to anticipate when the pulling is likely to occur. As tension rises, relaxation and breathing techniques are taught to focus on reducing the tension. Stimulus control techniques are often combined with Habit Reversal Training as well. This technique involves changing environmental factors that will lead to creating new learned connections between the urge to pull, and new non-destructive behaviors.

Other Common Anxiety Disorders

It is not uncommon for an individual to suffer from multiple anxiety disorders. Treating co-occurring conditions simultaneously is important in finding balance and healing from anxiety.

The Gateway Institute is here to support you in getting the help that you need.

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