Trichotillomania Symptoms

Trichotillomania is an obsessive compulsive disorder. The people affected with this disorder pull hair from their body. Most of the affected people will pull hair out of their scalp but there are some other body parts that will be affected too. 
The other areas of the body which may be affected include:

  • Eye lashes
  • Eye brows
  • Genital area
  • Under arm area
  • Legs
  • Arms
  • Chest
  • Tummy
  • Face e.g. beard or moustache

People with this disorder will always seem to have the urge to pull hair out of these areas. This action of hair pulling might occur because of stressful events. The sufferer may do it without even realizing what they are doing. This disorder is similar to the more common tic disorder.


Symptoms which are exhibited by people suffering from trichotillomania include:

  • An urge to pull hair out of certain parts of the body
  • Inability to resist the pulling of hair
  • High tension before pulling hair
  • A feeling of relaxation while pulling hair
  • A feeling of relief and satisfaction after the action gets completed
  • Hair loss and bald patches
  • Distress and indifference to life as a whole
  • Psychological Symptoms

Trichotillomania is a disorder which might result in a negative feeling like guilt because of the action that has been done. A person with this disorder will often feel ashamed and embarrassed for pulling their hair and because of that they will try to cover it and will also try to deny it. This is a disorder which also makes sufferers feel unattractive. It may also result in low self-esteem.

Most people with trichotillomania will chew the hair that they have pulled out and may also swallow it. This action of chewing and swallowing the hair is known as trichophagia. The eating of the hair which has been pulled out might cause hair balls, which are known as trichobezoars, in the stomach and in the bowel. This hair balls will also result in some other symptoms like:

  • Feeling sick
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding in the stomach
  • Stomach pain

There are also people who suffer from another mental disorder together with trichotillomania. Other mental disorders like anxiety disorder, depression, eating disorders, personality disorders and drug abuse issues may also pull hair out of different parts of their body. Given this, it is better to consult a doctor in order to get rid of the disorder.

The action of hair pulling will be commonly done during studying, working, writing, talking on the phone, watching TV, or while falling asleep. There are some warning signs which the people who are around the sufferer may notice. These include:

  • Wearing hats, wigs or kerchiefs
  • Changes in social behavior
  • Wearing lots of eye make up and/or eye glasses
  • Avoiding water and water-related activities like swimming
  • Excessive fiddling with one’s hair
  • Preoccupation with career or studies
  • Anxiety and depression

If you recognize the warning signs in a person that you know, you should talk to them and advise them to visit a doctor immediately for treatment.

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