Trichotillomania is all consuming.
Even when you are not pulling your hair out, you know that you are living with the condition.
For example, you may even have bald patches on your head or be missing an eyebrow.
I have had it for over 10 years now. There have been times when it was better and times when it was worse.
To help overcome the shame, guilt and stigma surrounding Trich, I have compiled some thoughts and questions I have had through the years.
I hope it will help spread awareness and understanding so that others don’t have to go for so long being too embarrassed and ashamed to talk to anyone or seek help.
Questions and Answers about Trichotillomania
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE POPULATION PULLS THEIR HAIR OUT?
Between 2-5% of the population pull their hair out.
That is almost 1 in 20 people!
ARE MY BALD PATCHES VISIBLE?
Some people might have noticed and not wanted to say anything.
But you probably think that it is worse than other people do.
This fear of being ‘found out’ hung over me for such a long time and ruined many social events.
Having the courage to now openly say I have trichotillomania if someone asks, has quietened these fears.
If you are not ready to do that yet, you could always blame the bald spot on alopecia and hair falling out due to stress.
This warrants a lot less questions than saying you have trich!
IS THERAPY WORTH IT?
Therapy can work, but it can be expensive.
I put off getting help for a long time because I thought if it didn’t work then I would have wasted a lot of money.
Therapy helped me for about a month, then I started pulling again. I think if I had had more sessions then it would have worked. When you have been pulling for 10 years 1 session isn’t going to be enough!
SHOULD I TALK TO MY FAMILY OR FRIENDS ABOUT IT?
YES! I cannot recommend this enough.
Talking to someone about my hair pulling was like a massive weight lifted off my chest.
Obviously it didn’t stop me doing it, however it was good to share what I had been keeping to myself for so long.
Speaking to someone about it is the first step to overcoming trich.
Once you have done this you have the support needed and can start to find a treatment which works best for you.
However, I get that it is easier said than done.
You can speak to whoever you feel most comfortable with – a friend, family member or doctor.
WILL PEOPLE THINK I’M WEIRD?
This is obviously a scary thought, but you might be surprised how understanding and supportive people are. If they haven’t heard about it, show them these TED talks about Trichotillomania so they can understand more about it instead of them asking loads of potentially unhelpful and awkward questions.
WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON PLACE TO PULL FROM?
Pulling from the scalp is the most common, closely followed by eyelashes and eyebrows.
AM I BROKEN? WHY CAN’T I CONTROL THESE IMPULSES?
You aren’t broken! The fact that 1 in 20 people suffers with TTM proves this.
WHY AND WHEN DID I START?
You might know exactly when it started, or you have been doing it for as long as you can remember. Usually hair pulling starts with a trigger or stressful event. You don’t need to know why you started to be able to stop.
WHY IS TTM NOT MORE MORE WELL KNOWN?
Considering TTM is more common than Bipolar, there is very little awareness surrounding the topic.
This is due to the embarrassing nature of hair pulling and the lack of a clear treatment.
IS TRICH LINKED TO ANXIETY?
Trichotillomania often develops with an anxiety disorder. I definitely find myself pulling out more hair when I am anxious or stressed.
AM I UNATTRACTIVE?
TTM can make you feel unattractive and lead to low self esteem.
Not just because of bald patches or not having eyelashes – but also the mental feeling of wondering why you are too weak to control it and feeling like there is something wrong with you.
If this is the case you need to work on raising your self worth and confidence.
If you don’t, these feelings of low self worth will add to your anxiety.
You will probably end up pulling even more, thus feeling even more unattractive – the circle continues.
A good place to start raising your self esteem is with positive affirmations.
DOES ANYONE ELSE I KNOW HAVE A BODY FOCUSED REPETITIVE DISORDER (BFRB)?
Dermatillomania is a sister condition of Trichotillomania and together about 6% of the population has a BFRB.
So chances are you definitely know people in the same position as you.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO STOP?
Yes! Thankfully it is possible to stop pulling out your hair and many people have done so.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TREATMENTS?
I have found the most effective treatments for me were CBT therapy, putting plasters on my fingers, wearing hats and talking to friends and family.
SHOULD I INVEST IN A HABITAWARE BRACELET?
Habitaware is a bracelet you can wear that makes you aware of your habits so that you can retrain your brain to stop pulling.
They are $149 each so quite pricey – but also have good reviews.
WHAT TRICHOTILLOMANIA APPS ARE THERE?
There are 3 apps which I have found to be useful for hair pulling. Tapping Solution, TrichStop and Quitzilla.
I hope you found these questions and answers about Trichotillomania useful!
If you did please Pin and Share this post to help spread awareness and reduce the stigma.