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Hair Pulling Disorder

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  • Hair Pulling Disorder

    I've been contemplating whether to write about this here. I feel very embarrassed about it and usually when I try to tell people they think I'm weird. I don't want to be criticized,I feel really abnormal about having this problem.
    For a very longtime I've been suffering from Trichotillomania, which is an obsessive compulsion to constantly pull my hairs out in various places on my body.
    My older and younger sisters suffer from this too and my younger sister has it just as bad as I do. I've managed to not pull my hair for a whole month last month but lately I've been feeling alot of anxiety again and depression and today I got into a really bad episode of it.
    I told my doctor but she said she does'nt know what to do about it. I tried taking anti-depressants but they don;t work. Just wondering if anyone else has this problem.
    I really hate myself because of this. One of the things I'd like to change. Sounds really easy just to say "Why don't you just stop??" but it's not easy....I feel very difficult posting here alot because some people just want to sugarcoat the problem and tell me "Why I don't just take a walk in the park and be positive?Blahblah.Help the homeless or some .."Making me feel like it's my fault or something. It has'nt been easy for me....just expressing this.

  • I don't pull my hair as often, but I'm constantly biting it. It's kind of like OCD ... if you don't touch the thing you want to touch 3 times, it eats you inside out. That's how I feel if I don't pull/chew my hair when I want to.
    It's hard to stop something that's subconscious, too. There have been studies done on it, and I've noticed too ... driving, playing videogames, surfing the internet ... when my brain turns off, I pull/chew.
    You're not alone
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    • Interesting I have a sister who does this, not all over her body but she pulls at the ends of her hair and it there are split ends, she pulls them apart. She's done it for years, I don't think she is even aware of doing it a good part of the time. She tried to stop in her teen years by snapping a rubber band on her wrist when she caught herself. Made a mess of her wrist, she still does it. When we were kids, it would drive me nuts to see her do it - I thought she would ruin her beautiful hair. Now it doesn't bother, it's just part of who she is. Virtually everyone has some sort of compulsive behavior of some degree.

      I double check things like ovens and irons, even though I know they are off.

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      • Wow...Little, I also bite my hair too It happens when I sitting idle somewhere and feeling nervous.Today I've managed to stop,but yesterday I was going non-stop. Usually means when I feel very anxious about something. Makes me feel so weird and not normal. I also have a friend who used to pull her hair too.
        Wildchild...yeah my older sister does what you describe,always pulling the split ends. I wish there was a medication I can take just to totally quit. Thank God my eyebrows are still okay. I've read an artical in Marie Claire a longtime ago about a girl who has the same problem as me. She pulled her hair so much she had to start wearing false eyelashes. My younger sister has it kinda worse because she likes to pull off the top of her head and has a bit of a bald spot now....I think I would totally not go that extreme tho. I feel it is heriditary(blah can't spell).

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        • It does sound like it could some sort of family trait. I don't know, your best bet may be some sort of retraining. Hypnosis may help?

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          • Completely understand

            Hi hon . I was diagnosed with severe OCD when I was 13. I went to a psychiatrist and started behavior modification therapy, and it works wonders. Basically, they will make you do whatever it is that makes you uncomfortable (i.e. not pulling out your hair) until you comprehend that when you don't do what you want to, the world does not end. It is VERY effective and works in most cases. Aside from meds, it is the most used form of therapy for people with OCD. Trichotillomania is very common from what I've read about it. I'm lucky enough to have my OCD be almost purely obsessional, so most people can't even tell I have it. My symptoms are now mild to non-existant. Your doctor, btw, sounds incompetent if they haven't suggested BMT. Are you seeing a mental health professional or a general practitioner? Look up OCD experts in your area and see if you can get an appointment with one of them. Good luck.

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            • BMT??? What's that???? I have'nt seen a therapist in a long while. Last time I told my doctor about my hair pulling problem all she did was prescribe me Fluoxitine and it actually made it worse. The cravings to do it felt more intense. Lately I've started to be in more control,but I noticed it's all a cycle. I can stop for a a whole month but I feel all that does is that the urges build up until I start doing it again. I know what triggers me to do it tho....when I'm sitting idle somewhere,like on my bed or at the computer, feeling anxiety,depression and boredom...that's when I start pulling my hairs out.
              When I get up very early in the morning and just take care of myself, that's when I notice I have more control over it. I feel it's an act of not caring for myself. Whenever I'm in the middle of hair pulling the thoughts I feel are "Nobody cares, so why should I care???? I'm probably very ugly anyways, so it does'nt matter if I pull my hairs out and scratch my face all night because of the itchy symptoms the hair pulling causes..". But then I snap out of it because I do care about my looks and every time after I succumb to the OCD of pulling I feel so bad about myself.It makes me 100 times feeling more ugly after I do it. It's weird,like it feels like a temporary emotional pillow that my brain craves,a bad habit developed from being in really anxious situations.
              I know that when I feel control over it and not do it and just concentrate on taking care of myself, I know that's a better feeling than whatever temporary escape I feel when I pull my hair.

              Comment


              • BMT is Behavioral Modification Therapy. I've also heard it called CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I think it's much more effective when used in conjunction with Zoloft or Prozac or another anti-depressant than using just the therapy or medication alone. Your psychiatrist can decide what method is best for you. CBT worked wonders for me when I was 13, and I still remember how to use it if I need to. Basically, they will MAKE you do whatever it is that makes you uncomfortable (i.e. not allowing you to pull your hair out) until your brain realizes that nothing bad is going to happen if you don't perform your compulsion to pull out your hair. If you ever watch the show Obsessed on A&E, that's the method all of their psychiatrists use for the patients who go on the show.

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                • One of my friends mentioned Cognitive therapy actually. I'll have to look it into that seriously.

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                  • Do you think that BMT would help unconscious pulling as well? Unless I happen to catch myself, hair in hand, in public, I don't really have the issue of consciously deciding not to pull/chew. It just happens, even when I am fully relaxed, like a bad reflex. It's not harming me in my daily life (ie, no bald spots) and it is not a habit that really bothers me. I'm not sure I'd be a good candidate for treatment, hehe.
                    <center><i>Nature gives us shapeless shapes,<br>Clouds and waves and flame,<br>But human expectation is that love remains the same,<br>And when it doesn’t, we point our fingers and blame.</i><br><a href="http://www.womens-health.com/boards/register.php">Register</a>|<a href="http://www.womens-health.com/boards/members/little.html">Contact Admin</a>|<a href="mailto:support*womens-health.com?subject=Forum Contact">Email Admin</a></center>

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                    • It's meant to correct unwanted behavior by replacing it with desirable behavior. You should look into it.

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