Hair Loss and Trichotillomania, or Compulsive Hair Pulling
Not all hair loss can be attributed to genetics or skin disorders. Indeed, millions of Americans - up to 5 percent of the population - suffer from a condition called trichotillomania, characterized by the compulsive pulling of one’s own hair. Sufferers of the condition have no control over the impulse to pull their hair, and there is no known cure available. Trichotillomania can cause extreme embarrassment, as people who cope with the condition are often nervous about going out in public and may go to great lengths to conceal the results of their constant hair pulling.
At the True & Dorin hair loss clinic in New York, trichotillomania hair loss can be discussed and evaluated discreetly and confidentially in a private consultation with one of our esteemed hair loss experts. Drs. Robert H. True and Robert J. Dorin have intimate knowledge of the comprehensive range of hair loss causes. If you are missing patches of hair due to uncontrolled hair pulling, they can help you understand your condition and the treatment options that are available to you. While there may be no cure for trichotillomania, we may be able to diagnose other underlying conditions for your hair loss, such as a scalp infection, and prescribe a treatment plan accordingly.
What Is Trichotillomania?
Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that can be present in sufferers from birth. The exact cause of the disorder is unknown; however, in most sufferers, it seems to stem from a combination of genetic and environmental causes. In many cases, trichotillomania is accompanied by emotional and mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The hair pulling associated with trichotillomania is not limited to the hair on the scalp. Sufferers often pull out hair from their arms, legs, eyebrows, eyelashes, noses, ears, and pubic regions. Many sufferers do not realize that they are pulling out their hair while they are doing it; some even pull their hair in their sleep. However, others pull their hair consciously because they find it gratifying or effective at relieving stress or negative emotions. Some people even perform elaborate rituals as part of their hair pulling routines.
Trichotillomania can be especially dangerous for sufferers who eat the hair that they pull out. Over time, the hair can gather in their digestive tract, which can cause extreme weight loss and even death. In the meanwhile, the scalp can become irreparably damaged over time, with some hair eventually not growing back.
Treatment for Trichotillomania
Our hair loss experts cannot treat trichotillomania, per se. We can, of course, evaluate the scalp and recommend a course of treatment for the hair that has been lost. If the hair loss is permanent, it may be possible to replace it through hair transplantation surgery. However, the condition itself should only be treated by a licensed, experienced psychotherapist.
Learn More about Hair Loss Causes
To learn more about the various causes of hair loss, including trichotillomania, please contact the world-renowned hair loss clinic, True & Dorin, today. We would be pleased to answer any questions about hair loss that you might have.