The main feature of trichotillomania is the recurrent pulling out of the individual’s own hair which results in noticeable hair loss. Sites of hair puling may include any region of the body in which hair may grow, the most common sites being the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes. Stressful circumstances frequently increase hair pulling behaviour, but increased hair puling also occurs in states of relaxation and distraction (e.g. reading a book or watching television).
In order to get a diagnosis of trichotillomania you will need to display the following symptoms:
- Reccurrent pulling out of one’s hair resulting in noticable hair loss
- An increasing sense of tension immediately before pulling out the hair or when attempting to resist the behaviour
- Pleasure, gratification or relief when pulling out the hair
Having pulled out hair from any area of the body, the tension and anxiety that sufferers of trichotillomania experience is relieved.
DIY self diagnosis
If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by trichotillomania.
- Have you pulled at your hair/nails/eyelashes because of experiencing feelings of anxiety?
- Have you found that the anxiety you experience is relieved by pulling out your hair/picking your skin or nails?
Anxiety UK strongly advises that people seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis.
Trichotillomania Fact Sheet
How we can help
Anxiety UK is a user-led charity with more than forty years experience in supporting those living with anxiety. By becoming a member of Anxiety UK, you will have access to a range of benefits, including:
- Access to reduced cost therapy within two weeks of submitting your therapy request
- Access to our infoline, email, text and live chat services (available Monday-Friday, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm) staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety
- Receipt of four issues of Anxious Times, our quarterly members” magazine
- Access to the members only section of our website, featuring regular support surgeries facilitated by anxiety experts
- Access to specialist helplines, including the psychiatric pharmacy helpline
And many, many other benefits that will help you manage your anxiety long term. To become a member of Anxiety UK click here or ring 08444 775 774 today.
Trichotillomania – Barbara’s Story
Want to know more?
“The hair pulling problem: A complete guide to trichotillomania”, by Dr Fred Penzel
This is a guide to the syndrome, filled with reassuring advice for patients and their families. Endorsed by the Trichotillomania Learning Center, the handbook includes all the information a patient or relative needs to understand the illness and to cope with it.