Hair Loss Due to Trichotillomania

Hair Loss Doctor

Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder that gives people irresistible urges to pull out their hair, often from their scalp. This can leave bald spots on their scalp, making them feel embarrassed and ashamed. Individuals with this disorder may also bite their nails, chew their lips or pick at their skin. Without treatment, symptoms can get worse over time. Here’s some further information about trichotillomania. 

Causes of Trichotillomania

The exact cause of trichotillomania isn’t very clear. However, experts believe that it may result from genetic and environmental factors. If someone in your family has had this disorder, you have a higher chance of developing it. Age is another risk factor of this condition. Trichotillomania typically develops during the teen years and can be a lifelong problem.

Stress can also trigger trichotillomania in some people. If you have a great deal of stress in your life that you haven’t been able to manage, you have a higher risk of pulling your hair.

Effects of Trichotillomania

Although trichotillomania isn’t life-threatening, it can cause several problems in your life, including:

  • Emotional Distress: If you pull out your hair, you may experience many emotional issues. You may feel embarrassed of the bald spots you have and ashamed that you have this problem. You may even get depressed and use alcohol or substances to deal with your stress.
  • Hair Damage: The longer you pull out your hair, the more risk you have of severely damaging your hair. You can harm the hair follicles and even have trouble growing your hair back.
  • Social Issues: The embarrassment from the hair loss can cause you to isolate yourself from family and friends. You don’t anyone to see your hair and may try to avoid social gatherings altogether.

Treatments for Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania can be difficult for many people to overcome, but not impossible. Here are the two most common treatments for this disorder:

  • Therapy: Talking to a licensed mental health therapist is an effective way to treat trichotillomania in many people. During therapy, you will learn to recognize situations where you’re likely to pull your hair and how to replace them with healthier behaviors.
  • Medications: Medications may be able to help with trichotillomania as long as they’re used alongside with therapy. The medicines aim to reduce depression and anxiety, which may be able to reduce the urge to pull your hair. Some medicines doctors commonly prescribe for this condition include Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil

Getting Your Hair Back

While hair can grow back if you stop pulling it, sometimes it doesn’t. If this is the case, you may want to look into getting a hair transplant. During this surgical procedure, hair is removed from another part of your body and implanted to your scalp. These results look natural and can help restore your self-confidence. Schedule a consultation with a qualified hair transplant surgeon today to find out more about the procedure.


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Dr. Robin Unger, MD, Hair Loss Doctor NYC