If you struggle with anxiety and find yourself constantly pulling at your hair, you’re not alone. You may suffer from a common condition called trichotillomania, and though the word sounds scary, the symptoms are very treatable.
What is trichotillomania?
Trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder that sometimes appears along with anxiety. People with this condition pull at their hair, usually in particular spots, when they’re feeling stressed or sometimes without even realizing why. The discomfort of pulling your hair can often reduce feelings of anxiety, and people use it as coping mechanism.
It’s estimated that about 3% of the United States population has suffered from trichotillomania at some point in their lives, and the number is rising. In sample populations of people with anxiety, the percentage is even higher. Self-soothing is a common response to anxiety, and for many this takes the form of picking at skin or pulling at hair.
What can I do about it?
It’s important to realize that most people can’t just stop pulling out their hair. There’s no reason to feel guilty or give yourself a hard time when you find yourself giving in, and in fact, it could actually hurt your recovery to obsess over stopping. Seeing a therapist can help, and cognitive behavioral therapy can be very beneficial in recovery, but it will take time, and the best thing you can do is be patient with yourself. You can recover with help, but it will take time.
Some people experience bald spots from pulling out too much hair in one spot. This is also totally normal and is nothing to be ashamed of. If you feel self-conscious about it to the point where it increases your anxiety and makes it difficult for you to go about your daily life, you might want to consider hair extensions. Hair extensions are temporary and can help cover sparse spots so that you notice them less. Make sure to remember that you notice missing hair more than anyone else will, so if you want extensions, only get them for yourself.
The bottom line is that trichotillomania is a very common side effect of anxiety. If you notice yourself compulsively pulling out your hair, you don’t have to worry. There are ways to treat it and there are several hair restoration options available today.
At Transitions of Wisconsin, we offer affordable hair additions and hair replacement services custom designed to your individual requirements. If you’re interested in scheduling a free consultation, contact us today!
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