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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
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It's Enough to Make You Pull Your Hair Out

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Nov 13th 2006

There is a disorder known by the complex name of Trichotillomania also known as hair pulling. "Trichotillomania is repetitive twisting and twirling of the hair. The hair loss is usually in a well-defined area with shortened, broken-off hairs and early regrowth of hair. The scalp is the most commonly involved site, but eyelashes and eyebrows may also be involved. The hair loss can also be patchy and poorly defined."*

Some 2.5 million Americans experience this disorder. Hair pulling often begins during childhood or adolescence. Studies show that boys who pull out there hair begin around the age of 8 while girls begin around twelve years of age or with the onset of puberty. By far, the highest percentages of people with this disorder are women who are 4 times more likely to get the disorder than males.

The ancient origins of the word, Trichotillomania, come from Greek root terms meaning "hair," "pulling" and "mania" or madness. Actually, there is nothing mad or crazy about this little understood disorder. Today, psychiatry and medicine define it as an impulse control disorder. The implications are that it is medical in nature and specifically neurological in origin.

*Symptoms:

  • Constant tugging, pulling, or twisting of hair
  • Increasing sense of tension is present before the hair pulling
  • Sense of relief, pleasure, or gratification is reported after the hair pulling
  • Hair pulling leads to an uneven appearance
  • Bare patches or diffuse (all across) loss of hair
  • Hair regrowth in the bare spots feels like stubble
  • Some individuals may develop a bowel obstruction if they eat the hair they pull out
  • Other self-injury behaviors may be present
  • People suffering from this disorder often deny pulling out their hair

*(Information is from U.S. National Library of Medicine)

The reason for many mental health specialists defining this disorder as impulse control is that those with this disorder cannot resist the urge to pull their hair. The impulse to pull one's hair is so over powering that it cannot be controlled. Once the urge has reached those dimensions, there is no way for the person to resist the urge. The result is that bald spots emerge on the scalp. The presence of these bald spots becomes a source of great distress, particularly for teenage girls at a time when they are at the height of concern about their appearance. In fact, it is the impact on appearance and its social consequences which has the greatest impact on social and emotional adjustment of people with this disorder.

One of the most important facts for sufferers and their loved ones to know about this behavioral disorder is that it is not a bad habit. People can learn to control or alter habits with little difficulty. The overwhelming urge to pull hair places it outside of the category of a learned and bad habit.

It is said that there are two types of trichotillomania: one in which the individual is aware that they want to pull their hair and another: in which the person is so involved and absorbed in an activity that they are unaware of what they are doing.

Among those who know they want to pull their hair there is a feeling extreme distress and depression anxiety leading them to pull their hair out. For these individuals the result is a feeling of relief or an end to a kind of emotional numbness they experienced. For other people there is no awareness that they have started to pull their hair. Among the second group, the process of hair pulling seems to be much less open to awareness much of the time, until sometime after it has started. In all cases, once the person attempts to force themselves to stop the behavior the worse it becomes.

Reports about the prognosis of this disorder are that most children will out grow it within a year. However, if this does not happen then it can and does last into adulthood.

There is no one accepted and proven treatment for this disorder. Among the commonly tried treatments are medication for depression, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavior modification. One form of behavior modification is referred to as reverse habit conditioning in which the patient is made aware of the behavior, when it is going to happen and then explores alternative coping mechanisms to the hair pulling.

There will be an upcoming podcast on this site in which a woman who suffers from trichotillomania will be interviewed about her experiences including how she has learned to cope with and reduce the symptoms.

A worthwhile book on the topic is the one by: Fred, Penzell, PhD and is titled: The Hair Pulling Problem: A Complete Guide to Trichotillomania (Oxford Universities Press, 2003). It is written specifically for the public and is quite readable.

Your comments and questions about this disorder are welcome.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

I'm pulling my hair out - Nini - Jan 22nd 2015

I'm 17 and its been 5-6 month since I started pulling my hair out,it became my everyday habit.these days I tragically found out that I have lost full amount of hair,especially in one area and it can be seen really easily.It's been 2 days since I stopped pulling my hair out,and I'm interested how fast can it grow that it wont be seen and will cover the skin.

P.S. Except from pulling hair myself it as been falling out since I was a child.

please I really need to know if my hair will grow and how long it will take.

13, don't pull my hair out - Aryana - Oct 31st 2014

I'm thirteen and my hair falls out a lot. Like today my hair got caught on something and a big huge chunk of my hair fell out. The worst part is I didn't even feel it. My hair is constantly falling out, and it's getting to the point where I'm getting bald spots, please help.

I am a 24 year old mail with trictilomania - adam - Sep 14th 2014

I'm half black half with mixed race mom's black dad's wight self  diagnosed when I was born I was born with a full head of hairor at least as far as a new born baby could have my mother said5 hours after my birth reaching towards my head constantly with in about three months to 4 months after my birth my hair has grown to the length where I could reach itand that's where the twisting and tugging beganmy mother never thought anything of it when I was around that ageand allowed my hair to grow out around the age of 4 around the age of 2 & 3 she did get slightly annoyed with the habit and braided my hair in cornrowsto help control my urge I was never aware of my uncontrollable had it till about around the age of 6at that time I he was mature enough and mentally wear enough she understand something is going onand was made fun of quite a bitwhen I was in 6th gradeI shaved off my eyebrows and pulled out all my lashes and shave my head freaked everybody out freak everybody everyone in school called me powder like a month really good Movie by the way I think I have both forms of trictilomania because at the age of 6 I was vary self aware of my disorder but I will vary often fall a sleep twisting knotting and pulling my hair and be come unaware that I'm doing so I fix my hair be for bed only to wake up with knots and Lil dred twists I'm the morning thank god I have I have never had any permanent bold spots because I amazingly thick hair And think I will leave this world the same way I got here with a full head of hair        

hereditary - Maryann - Jun 3rd 2014

What is known about hereditary and trictilomania? I have been a sufferer ever since I can remember....three years old or so. I am now 65. None of my five kids were afflicted. But out of my eight grandchildren, I do have one granddaughter that started pulling out her eyelashes at age nine. She just turned ten years old. Is this random or has she inherited it from me? Her behavior is far more aggressive thanine ever was. She pulls out upper and lower eyelashes and eyebrows. It is heartbreaking to me. She recently stopped pulling out the eyebrows. I know this is not anything she learned from me because I learned how to conceal my problem as a teenager, using eye makeup. Also, I never was so aggressive as to have all my eyelashes missing at one time. I keep.praying that she will outgrow this problem. But, I am not encouraged much because it has been a lifelong battle for me.

Hair twirling - - Mar 19th 2014

See  like when I get nervous I twirl a smallish piece of hair on both side of my head around my ears and it's a calming  thing for me

is this bad for me to do?

i don't pull my hair out though but my mom always tells me to quit  and I might be cutting circulation off to my ears 

Iv done this my whole life .. - - Mar 5th 2013

Iv pulled my hair out my whole life iv stoped for a year here and there and something always happends to make me start again i stoped the whole time i was preggnet and now that my son is 5 months old iv started pulling again and its geting bad .. i dont want to go no where or do any thing im embaressed about how i look . i feel like ppl who look at me know i pull my hair out .. i cry when i relise im doing it ... i want to be normal and have pretty hair put it up like i see everryone eles doing but i cant becuase of my balding stops .. i feel like im not pretty bc of it ..  i try to eat instead of pulling so im only gaining more weight ....... i cant stop :(

pulling - Annymous - Dec 21st 2012

Oh dont i have a huge problem with pulling my  hair in a sertain place i would twist and knot of my hair and get a comb and pull it it would hurt if i really pull it hard  but i do it anyways because my of my habit but it would feel so good pulling it hard after a while i been doing it for a couple of weeks they said start at young age and i belive because i started with pulling my hair on my head i quit that habit for a couple years im pulling the sertain place i mentioned  and its A thing i wanna quit because i dont want bleeding or anything. i started pulling hair on my head when i was like 4 what happend i would pull and ripp of hair off my hair and smeell it \ITS SO EMBARSSING HELP ME Y DID I DO THIS IN THE Past*

BALD PATCH - annon - Nov 7th 2012

i think i have Trichotillomania. i started to pull out my eyebrow  first and that was like 5 months ago and about 3 week ago i started to pull my hair. i pull my hair out everyday and it doesnt hurt? i have a bald patch now as i realised about 2 weeks ago and i'm only 13. my hair has a lot of input into my confidence and i really dont know what i'd do without it. i have occasionally also pulled out my eyelashes but only once or twice. i now have a bald patch though and i find it so hard to resist not pulling my hair</3 my mum and sister noticed my bald patch lastnight as i've been hiding it. i'm worried</3

Desperate for Some Answers - - Jan 29th 2012

I'vee had this condition for like 12-13 years now and now my hair looks like utter crap. It's dry, frizzy, uneven, split ends, dry hair that causes breakage and dandruff it looks so dry and DEAD it's disgusting. Part of my hair is wavy, then super curly, and then straight. My hair has a weird texture each strand is different. I want to shave all of my hair off. Would that be good or a bad thing to do?

Hair pulling, what can I do? - Allan N. Schwartz, Phd - Nov 2nd 2011

In many cases hair pulling is stress and worry related. Doing homework, studying for tests, preparing tax returns, and others, cause a lot of anxiety. That anxiety is often expressed in this way and the person is often not aware of what they are doing.

If a family member is ordering yu to stop doing this, it only adds to the stress, risking it's becoming even worse. Family members need to know this.

As for what to do, visit our self help section and look up ways to reduce stress. Everything from meditation and yoga to jogging all help.

Dr. Schwarta

Little knots, big knots, all the knots - Helen - Nov 1st 2011

I hope I don't suffer from the Trichhoweveryouspellit disorder, but I do know that as a nervous habit or whenever I'm bored I, usually on my left hand to the left side of my hair either underneath or the covering layer, tie little knots with my fingers and then yank them out. I literally sit there and bundle up the ends of my hair, twisting and winding them together until I'm satisfied with the feel of it and then slowly I yank out a couple hairs at a time and end up with a small ball of hair which I toss away.

This is getting annoying.

It started sometime around highschool, probably the beginning of my sophomore year. So yeah, stress related.

But the sometimes the pulling hurts, other times it feels good, but mostly I'm just end up with a tangle of hair in my hand during class/rehearsal that I have to secretly brush away.

Bleh.

The underlining of my hair is all mismatched and uneven, and including the top layer of my hair there are split ends all around.

I've been trying to stop for a couple of weeks now. But even today during AP World I found myself knotting. Again.

My dad is adament about me stopping, "Stop pulling out your hair" is a consant reminder.

Is there anything I can do to stop this?

hair pulling - - Sep 13th 2011

I am a 23 year old, I started pulling out my hair at the age of 12.At that time i never knew what i was actually doing everyone including my family thought i was mad o had a mental disorder, it was so serious that at one stage i had no hair at all i had to wear a beanie were ever i went including to school, students used to tease me call me names like cancer girl o boldie.

I had this problem for years i lost out on my child hood, i never knew what it felt like to have friends, people used to pretend to be my friend just to embarres me.

I tried everything i could think of to stop doctors, temples, pastors everyone n nothing helped, i lost hope in myself i made myself believe that i could never live a life of a normal teenage girl.Nomatter how much i tried to stop myself i could not

My parents were so angry with me they thought i was doing it on purpose who would want to make them selves bold on purpose?

There was something i did notice when i got to the age of 22 the only time i used to pull out my hair was when i was nervous or stressed n by pulling out my hair it gave me some kind of relief it took me long to figure that out but im glad i did.

So i decided to speak to my bf who has been there for me through this difficult time and always stood by me, i told him about it and we both went up to my parents because they would never have believed me if i told them, and my bf told them its going to be up to him to help me and this time we are going to make you better.

He told me when ever i feel like pulling my hair instead of putting my hand on my head i should rather do something else like pick up the phone and phone him or go speak to my mum,it was really hard in the begining but i had to do it.He bought me a stress ball and said to me i should always have that in my hand and it worked its almost one year now and i can proudly say im better.

I really do hope and pray that my story will help someone.Dont give up we all just have to have a little more faith in our selves. It will be hard at first but it will get easier.I know how you all feel and im really glad to have this opportunity in sharing the most difficult phase of my life with you all.

 

I'm wanting answers - Shy - Jun 20th 2011

Im seventeen about to be a senior and move into a whole new phase of life. but, theres that one thing thats got a ring around me tighter than a fat lady in jeans. I excessive pluck my eyebrows, or whatever i feel is confortable at the moment. i notice i usually pluck hair when im full of anxiety. while watching a movie, on the computer are the most common places after the first few hairs i feel relieved. then i pluck a few more and i tell myself "oh, you'll be fine" but i end up looking in the mirror and hating the urge. i have fought this for five years, i have went spouts when i didnt have the urge, saying no when it appeared weak; thinkin i had got stronger. Could medication help with the fighting of this anxiety? I don't want to look up "faster ways of growing hair again" and buying an eye pencil one more time. i have support but my parents are also down my throat an telling me to stop; as i think this is harder to stop than going cold turkey from cigarates. cause when it gets you, its something you want to please. i'm going to stop plucking my hair. I'm going to be beautiful, when my other brow goes in. I'm tired of having to fight an being so weak. can i have some pointers how to reverse this urge an let me have my begining back. 

The doctor I went to diagnosed me with ocd - Erin - Mar 11th 2011

I am fifty years old and started pulling eyebrow hairs around three years ago.  There is no doubt that stress and anxiety causes mine.  The doctor I went to diagnosed me with ocd but the kind that manifests itself in lots of ways---thinking and going over things over and over, being so obessive about small things I miss important big ones, and the hair pulling.  Twenty years ago at a very stressful time, I pulled the hair on my head.  Now I fight to kee from pulling the eyebrows. I hate this--I am trying so hard to stop. I try to tell myself my brows will be worse than they are now if I continue.  The ocd medicine that I was on continued to make me sick to my stomach so I had to stop taking it. I do think willpower is part of it--I just have to really keep fighting it.

My story - - Mar 4th 2011

I do not know how old I was when I started pulling my hair out but i have done it for as long as I can remember.  My parents have said I was a young child though.

Growing up, my parents tried multiple ways to get me to stop pulling including wearing gloves to bed but nothing seemed to work.  No one knew why I did this, and how to get me to stop.  I came from a small town where it had never been heard of before and right around the time I graduated is when I found out that there was a name for this and that I wasn't the only person in the world who suffered from this.

After high school, I found my hair pulling getting worse so I started wearing extensions to try to limit the hair I could get my hands on.  As my hair was only down later at night it did mean that I did not have as many opportunities to pull it out.  The rest of the time it is up in a bun to try to stop me from pulling as much out and limit my opportunities to pull.   

I have agonized over how to stop this for years as it is embarassing and humiliating as when I am tired, under stress, or bored I pull more often irregardless of where I am.  

Two months I decided I had to figure out a way to stop this but taking medication really makes me weary.

There was an expensive item I have wanted for some time but have never purchased as I always felt it was an unnessisary luxery I should not splurge on.  I remembered back to my youth when my parents promised me $100 if I could go a month without biting my nails.  $100 to a 12 yr old was alot of money at the time.  I said OK, and a month later I did not bite my nails anymore and I was $100 richer and haven't bit them since.  I had been debating whether I should try it, and how I would feel if I couldn't do it but in the end figured if it worked then, why not at least try it now.  I won't have failed as long as I at least try.   

I made myself a deal.  If I could go one month without pulling my hair, then I would get this item as a reward for actually doing it.   

The first two weeks were incredibly difficult, and I had to conciously think every day about what i was doing.  I caught myself multiple times starting to lift my hair to twirl and then pull but managed to stop myself. 

After the first two weeks, I started to notice it was becoming easier and it gave me the push I needed to want to not let myself give in to the temptation and not start again after going two weeks without one pull.

It has been two months now, and I did get my "reward" for going a month without pulling.  I have extended my length of time now to 6 months and at the end of 6 months I will be giving myself another "reward" if I can do it.  Breaking it into smaller segments makes me feel I can reach the end of the tunnel and actually accomplish it. 

Amazingly after two months, the urge to pull has greatly reduced.  I notice in very specific circumstances now that I still have a little voice that wants me to do it, but that voice has quieted down significantly from before and I can control that voice.

I guess my story is to others who have this, I understand your pain.  My method for working so far may not work for all of you, but if you do want to stop you do have options available to you.  There isn't a magic pill that can make it go away and it is not easy but you do not have to go through your whole life feeling ashamed and self-concious. 

You can stop pulling!  If I could after 30+ years, you can too! 

my solution - Hairpullerme - Feb 21st 2011

JUST like everybody here.. when I am watching T.V or when my hands are not doing anything, or if I'm reading, thinking, stressed, etc etc I take a load of hair in my fingers and proceed to scrunch the hairs, then loop the hairs close to the scalp, scrunch again...then loop and keep repeating this pattern until I form a knot, which usualy needs to be ripped off , leaving shorter clumps of hair.

I am a guy, probably been doing this for 15+ years since school. I never go anywhere without a hat, but oddly the hat issue isn't so much to cover my mess of hair, but more it feels like I am 'safe' if I wear a hat, I have never been able to figure the hat thing out but obviously it too is an anxiety thing (I have always been stressed by social situations, or large groupe of people).

My hair is nearly shoulder length (yes for a guy), althought I say shoulder length, but the fringe, top and sides haven't seen a hairdresser for about 8 years!! as I just seem to keep it short with my 'problem'!, it kind of resembles a mullet now!!

SO SOLUTION>>?! I think shaving my hair off is the ideal solution for now, starting afresh, the lack of hair to play with may help curb my urge to constantly twist hair all day!!! .. the end!

Help please - tom - Jan 10th 2011

I started pulling my hair out in the fourth grade.Im in seventh now and its only gotten worst.I have no friends and the ones I used to have made fun of me and treated me like shit...From all the depression and stress in school and out of school I had to drop out of public school and be homeschooled.I feel bad for all ive put my parents through and ive quited it before but it always comes back.And almost the worst part is i cant do  any thing that involves taking off my hat such as swimming roller coaster rides etc.I need help is there any way to permanatly beat it ;(

do i have this disorder? - gina - Dec 3rd 2010

i straighten my hair a lot causing it to become unhealthy, so when i feel the dead/fryed ends, i break them off or pull them out. i dont actually feel satisfied i just feel like i have to keep going so that i can get rid of the unhealthy parts and it was quite bad a couple of years ago when i ended up with a small bald patch but i stopped doing it. and then i started again this year. also if my leg hairs get long cause i havent shaved for a while, i start to pull them out too. so does anyone know if this means i suffer from this disorder? a reply would be wonderful.

I hope that I can control it - fab - Nov 8th 2010

wow..i never thought that my obsession to pull out my hairs was a disorder. I thought it was something normal that I did...something unique of my person. I really dnt know why though..on my 6th birthday I got a set of playing cosmetic toys..(hair brush, lip stick, mirror) and among those..came a plastic eyebrow plucker....THis is how I learned to use it and pluck my eyebrows at an early age.I actually collected the eyebrows..! well as time passed I continued doing it but know it was it my fingers and use my nails to pull out the eyebrows. It was really embarassing because my parents always grounded me for doing that and in elementary I suffered from being bullied by my eyebrow baldness.

when I was about 11 I began pulling out my eyelashes and my hair. I was very obsessed with hairs and their structure and texture and feeling of it. It was during this age that I started eating and biting the hairs. I think everything is connected. I mean the sensation on my hands and fingers that was created while feeling the hairs and then pulling it out and at the instant of pulling it the satisfaction of doing so and then the need to rub it against my lips and feel it and then the sensation of my teeth to slice it into tiny pieces and eat it.!

eventually at 14 I stopped eating them..but today I keep having that tick to pull out my hairs. I tell you that even my boyfriend is tired of me trying to pull out his beard! but I cant help it! I cannot stop trying to pull out a hair until I do so!

 

I hope that I can control it because this does not let me do homework and I waist to much tie doing this. I hope to be able to control this. Nothing is impossible, Just as my eyebrows grew back, god will help me get rid of this obsession.

A Solution? - Chris - Oct 10th 2010

I began pulling out my hair when I was 12.I remember the exact moment I started; I was combing my blond hair in front of the mirror as teenage girls are prone to do, when I spotted a wirey dark hair sticking up. I pulled it out immediately and from then on became obsessed. I would spend a lot of time combing my hair looking for imperfect hairs! The hair pulling then worsened as I could now feel any hairs which were corser or curly without looking in the mirror and when studying I would sit and pull out hairs I could feel were "different"

Over time I developed quite large bald patches on my head which were distressing not only for me but for my family who were desparate for me to stop. I tried wearing a hat when I was studying and gloves to make it difficult to pull but nothing worked long term.

Approximately 5 years ago I developed peripheral neuropathy, with one of the permanent effects being pins and needles in my hands with reduced sensitivity.Since then I have stopped pulling out my hair as I can no longer distinguish between the different hairs with the result that my bald patches have disappeared!!

It would appear that the necessity to feel the hair's texture was an integral part of the pulling process for me and once the ability to do this had gone, the problem stopped.

I am still tempted occasionally to look in the mirror for 'rogue' hairs to pull but the problem is 99% gone!

It seems rather extreme to have the pins and needle sensation induced ( if it can be done ? ), but I think I would have seriously considered it if there was such a procedure.

I was 'lucky' that this neuropathy happened to me in this regard, and I hope that my experience might shed some light on the topic.

 

Chicken Eyes - - Oct 2nd 2010

I began pulling eyelashes when I was in 3rd grade. I would pull them out and rub the cool follicle on my lips and collect them in my pencil tray. I am now in my late 50's still pulling eyelashes plus eyebrows. My grandchildren call me "chicken eyes" if they catch me w/o makeup. I would love to get tatoo's on my brows and eyelids to conceal but is too expensive. I have missed out on many things in life's activities for the fear of being seen naked (eyewise). I even had relatives concerned for my children fearing that I would pull their lashes out.

It's hopeless - Meema - Sep 28th 2010

Dear Dr. Schwartz

I started to pull out my hair since i was 11 yrs old, now i'm 26 yrs old, that's more than 15 yrs of suffering; i'm the only member in family with such disorder, i started in elementary school by cuting one damaged hair into half then developed to pull out the hair. i do it so Excessively that I can't even go out without wearing my wig I start pulling & pulling until I realize most of the hair then I wait till the hair grow back and then start pulling out the hair again. It's very embarrassing and my family always accusing me that I don't have the will to stop they don't understand it's disease, well I don’t blame them because just now I realize it myself. I tried to eat my nails (which is another bad habit) whenever I start pulling out the hair, I tried having shower whenever I have the urge, I tried to sit with my friends to avoid such urges, none of them worked. I have good type of hair but unfortunately I don’t let it grow enough for me to enjoy it. I read there is no medication for such disorder so far but do you know anything about hair cloning? could it be a solution? I heard in Thailand there is a surgery similar to hair cloning where they take part of the original hair and after three months they bring similar type of hair and start the surgery? Could this an alternative solution ? I'm so desperate and I'm about to get married my fiancé is aware of my problem and he is so cooperative by bringing me information and herbal oils for hair grow etc but I'm never strong enough  to showed him my actual hair(without the wig)it is really really embarrsing :(:(

Another question, if I have children in the future could this problem be inherited?

 

Any advice?

Thanks  alot

 

pulling - ...... - Sep 24th 2010

i have been pulling out my hair for years...... i started at the age of twelve. now at the age of 18 i have a bald spot the size of a pancake in the middle of my head. i never know this was common i thought it was just something i did.i try so hard to stop but it to the point it feels good to do it and when i try to keep myself from doing it um fustration become over baring....i want to stop so bad!!!!!! please someone help me out

Hair Pulling and solutions. - Vincent - Sep 23rd 2010

I started pulling my eyebrows when I was 17... Pulling them every day in school, and after I would leave a class period I would see hair all over my desk. This went on for a few months untill I stopped. I just trained myself to get angry at myself while I was doing it, or I thaught about being made fun of and how ugly I would look if I remained doing it. Till it eventually got to the point where I would recieve more emotional pain in doing it then the so called stress relieving, tension relieving, relaxation you tell your self you're getting. Same happened with my hair and I stopped the same way also after seeing that ugly bald spot I'd be single for life. Unless there is a serious mental conditonal I'd say you don't have Trichotillomania, instead, you're subconsciously training yourself to pull your hair as a way to distract your mind off some problems, emotional pain, or ect. It take a Doctor to tell somone they're going to die to get them to stop smoking! Find your reason to stop pulling, or see 20 years from now if you don't!

solution? - - Aug 28th 2010

I have been pulling and breaking off my hair for awhile now.. Is there any kind of treatment u can get to make your hair grow back faster? my bangs are so short from breaking off the ends and it is embarrasing

still pulling eye brows and eye lashes - - Aug 24th 2010

I've been pulling out my eye lashes and eye brows since 2nd grade. I vividly remember when I started doing this. I recall looking down at the floor in my class and seeing a large pile of my eye lashes laying there. I went home and my mom noticed something different about me. I had a huge bald spot on my upper eye lid. I've been pulling ever since; I'm now 32. However, I have noticed when I am highly stressed, bored, studying/reading or watching movies, it gets worse. I agree with all of you who state it's a form of comfort. I roll my eye brows or lashes in my fingers and it relaxes me. I've experienced incidences when I was aware of plucking, while other times I was not aware. I too had thick eye brows and eye lashes, but all the plucking eventually caught up with me, and I can't seem to allow enough time for them to grow back. Whenever I think I may have it under control, I'll have a relapse and will end up with half eye brows and large spaces on my eye lids. Very frustrating - I know! I think this site is awesome. Just recently, I no longer feel so odd or alone with this disorder. I'm glad I found a name for it. I've been embarrassed for too long. Now, I'm just looking for solutions. 

hair pulling - Alex - Aug 18th 2010

as far as i remember i have been pulling out my hair ever since i got a disease called HSP. but i got rid of the disease very quickly. and i was five. now i am almost 15. my hair is so short and i hate it. i always try to figure out what i like about pulling out my hair. like if it is the feeling, the sound of the snapping or what. when i was reading these comments it made me cry. i dont know why though. i have always wanted to stop. everytime someone tells me to stop i get so mad. and do it more. i think stress really is the cause. when i was five i got out of the hospital and then my brother got in a car accident and ever since then (2001) he has a brain injury and is paralyzed on his left side. and then in 2005 my other brother was in a four wheeler wreck and he has a brain injury and is paralyzed on his right side.

and people in the house always yell and most of the time when we yell its because of money issues. and my brothers always get attention because they are hurt.

when i am with my close friends i dont pull out my hair. but i do it when i am bored, and stressed, and when its quiet, when i am alone. i am doing it right now actually. i want to have pretty hair but i cant because the disorder. i know i have this disorder because i have all the details about it.

what should i do? is there anyway i can stop this without going to therapy? and if i did go to therapy, what would they do there? can you explain that last question to me please?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

i need this to stop and now.

I can't stop... - - Aug 10th 2010

     I am a 14 year old boy and I been pulling my hair since I was a baby.  My mom would tell me that even when I was little she would see me twisting and pulling at at my hair.  I don't really notice when I start doing it most of the time and when I realize it I try to stop I just can't seem to keep my hands down.  I seem to pull my hair when ever I feel bored, angry, annoyed, nervous, even excited, and I also do it when I am not really doing anything else.  I dont know why I do it I guess I like the feel of it and when I feel any of those emotions it sort of calms me a little. 

     When I am occupied with something I don't do it as much and sometimes I do some other kind of simple habit like thing and I stop.  My mom been trying to get me to stop by giving me buzzcuts ever since I was little, and that works...untill it grows back.  I twist and pull and make knots in my hair which I pull out and somtimes it gives me baldspots.  When I was a little younger I used to even get sores on my head, but I have stopped doing that.  To keep me from doing it I have been using a rubber band on my wrist by messing with that when I get the urge I seem to avoid doing it.  I also wear a hat every now and then but I still cant seem to stop...what should I do?

Do I need to stop? - Catalina - Aug 7th 2010

I've been twisting my hair for as long as I can remember. When I was younger (7 & 8) it was bad enough that I was pulling hair out, but I made a concerted effort and quit pulling... however, I can't seem to kick the twisting habit. Frankly, I don't want to. I twist my hair unconsciously when I get stressed, and it relieves tension in a major way. I thought, I'm not pulling anymore, and twisting doesn't hurt anything, so it's just a harmless habit, right? Then I got majorly stressed (saw my dog run over) and twisted to the point of pulling w/o realizing it. That made me think maybe it was unhealthy.

Do I really need to get rid of hair twisting? If so, what can I do?

me pulling my hair out - ashley - Jul 27th 2010

so, when i was about 12 years old i was playing a video game and for some reason ive been pulling out my hair every since now and im 15 now. i have to keep my hair up almost everyday so i can hide my spots on my head or pull my bangs back so they can hide the spots its really depressing and my mom has been finding out that i have spots on my head but when ever she asks about it i just cant talk about it with her because i dont want her to judge me in anyway because she has be for. i mean ive been cutting down but i find my self doing it when i dont notice i just dont how to stop i mean its just they feeling of it i love but i dont no how to handle it i mean i had pretty hair before i pulled it. i just dont even no if it will grow back if i will ever stop.. 

please give me some edvice!!

Location - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jul 8th 2010

Hi Carolyn,

While you may not have trich exclusively, you description of how you pick you skin falls into a variety of that disorder.

I urge you to see a psychologist and/or psychiatrists and get yourself help for this. The reason: You want to avoid harming your skin and creating an infection. Today, there are some very nasty infections that become serious very quickly. Get yourself help.

You could begin by talking to your MD about this.

Dr. Schwartz

Specific place, specific type of hair - Carolyn - Jul 8th 2010

I don't know if this is what I have or if it's a mix with the other thing I do, but I have a compulsive desire to pick at and eat scabs, zits, blackheads, and even small in-grown hairs from my body. I have been doing this since I was young and I am nearly 25 now.

As of recently, I've managed to keep the zit and scab eating on a record low... but I've developed a new habit.

At the base of my left leg, where the sock usually covers my skin, the hairs have always had trouble poking through the skin. I've begun to compulsively locate hair that hasn't broken the skin, use tweezers to scratch at the hair until it's out enough to grab, then pluck it with the tweezers. I don't mind the pain and it's left that section of my leg (as I have not pulled from anywhere else on my body in terms of hair) very spotty.

At first I justified it as merely helping the hairs to grow in properly by pulling out the bad ones (note: this habit started this year) but it's quickly become clear to me that I just enjoy pulling out the hairs that haven't broken the surface.

I feel a small burst of "I did it!" when I managed to snag and pluck a particularly difficult hair. Sometimes I don't stop trying to get at the ahir until I feel the amount I'm bleeding will hinder my progress too much, so I wait about a day, then try again, more often than not reopening the wounds to eventually pull the hair.

I also compulsively scout for any and all hairs that grow on my breasts. It's a mad habit, but it was even worse before I decided to use tweezers, as I bite my nails and thus had to gouge my skin to pull out the hairs.

Please help. What is wrong with me?

Is this

Long, black, thick locks of love & hate(; - Alicia - Jul 7th 2010

Ever since I was little I could always remember having this uncontrollable urge to pull out my hair.  In some cases I would realize I was doing it, but in most cases I did not.  To this day pictures of myself when I was little with my figers in my mouth and my hands twisted in my hair still haunt me.  I wish I could go back to that moment and stop the impulses right then and there.  My parents did everything they could as a child.  Paying hundreds of dollars for weave hair styles for their six year old daughter so she wouldnt get picked on by the kids in her first grade class.  The day soon came when the emotional toll and financial toll was way too much to bare, so finally my parents just decided to cut all of my hair off.  This was both a positive and negative thing for me.  Growing up I never had a boyfriend because I was always seen as one of the boys.  When I went out in public I was often made fun of . . . "Hey, mommy look!  Its a boy in girls clothing!".  Sometimes the comments bothered me and sometimes they didnt.  I am now sixteen years old and I find myself in one of the most depressing points in my life.  My hair is amazingly thin on the crown on my head and on the left side of my head.  Even though now I have long hair it is still uneven in most spots, but I just choose to fake the funk.  I wear my hair in strange styles so you cant tell the difference in hair volumes.  I was pretty much in control of my urges to pull out my hair until a couple weeks ago when my life was "shattered" by someone I thought I loved.  He gave me everything that I ever wanted as a child and never had.  Now that this has happend my urges have became more and more unbareable.  Imagine being pissed off to the point that you would risk your own physical beauty just to releave the emotional pain for a split second and in the blink of an eye, its back.  Lets not mention the anxiety that comes along with the urges.  If someone were to make me mad right now, which wouldnt take much, I would go off in a fit of rage and pull my hair, rub it on my face and lips and curse and argue to ease my pain.  I am not only writting this comment to vent, but also in the hopes of getting some sort of medical and emotional guidance.  PLEASE HELP!

Signed,

The Trichotillomaniac

Unsure. - Haley. - Jul 3rd 2010

I am 14 years old and i noticed i started pulling my hair out after me and my mom got in a fight. I stayed with my friend for a couple days and after he would go to bed i realized i would start playing with my hair, running my fingers through the knots and just pulling it out at the top. And tonight i was watching TV and started pulling my hair out and before i knew it i had a little stack of hair beside me. So i started plucking my eyebrows. And while i was reading some comments on here some people said they would rub the hair over their lips, so i did that and liked it and now it seems even weirder. I just feel the urge to pull my hair out so bad. I dont want to tell my mom i think i may have trich so soon and it turn out to be nothing. Is this just a misunderstanding?

i started pulling my eyelashes out in 3rd grade and been pulling them out for 9 years - candice gallagher - Jun 23rd 2010

hi there so i started pulling out my eyelashes when i was in third grade and i havent stop pulling them i am now a senoir in high school and i am tring so hard to stop pulling but when my mom had noticed i was pulling them out she took me to the doctor and he gave me some medication and tht made it worse i even started pulling hair out the top of my head and i pulled out every single eyelash and i started pulling skin it got so bad..but i am now 17 years old and really tring to remind myself that if i grow them back i can finally wear mascarra... i pray to god evernight i will be able to stop..

How I overcame Trich - Rit - Jun 22nd 2010

Okay so i started pulling around age 13. I pulled from my eyebrows and my eyelashes.  When i turned 18 somehow i just stopped pulling my eyebrows. I am not really sure why but it just went away. I still pulled my eyelashes.  I am now 29.  Only a few months ago did i fully stop pulling out my lashes.  I get the urge everyday but i dont do it.  I dont know if this will help anyone but i found that by washing my eyelids with baby shampoo every morning helped alot.  It stopped a lot of the itching that you would get when they grow back and made my eyelids feel much softer.  I also used a mixture of vasiline, aloevera, castor oil and almond oil, mixed it up and use it like mascara during the day. this keeps them wet and they dont seem to irritate me at all.  Also at night i use an eyelash conditioner. i prefer Lilash..its expensive ...but for a cheaper one you can use Ardel lash and brow conditioner...it gives the eyelashes and eyebrows the nutrients it needs to stay healthy...i feel that they are much stronger...i guess i turned a bad habbit into a good one...It does still sound OCD but at least this way i dont pull them anymore...i hope this was helpful for others..i know what its like to live with this disorder and it is so unpleasant...

When My mom began to say that it was a nervous habit, I knew it had to be something. - - Jun 18th 2010

Well, I'm 13 now and I've been pulling my hair out for 12 years practically. My Mom and family began to notice bald spots. I went to the doctor and she said that it was OCD and that I needed therapy. I did believe that I had OCD for a while but after some research about it I noticed that I had none of the symptoms. After figuring this out I just thought it was Stress or something. My mom always would say that it was a nervous habit. But I knew it wasn't true. I always knew that I had some type of disorder even if I was the only person who had it. I've stopped pulling my hair alot, as far as bald spots. I'm just really relieved to find a cause for this strange behavior. I pull my hair out frequently trying to not let my mom notice (and she doesn't). It's been hard trying not to do it. It gives me such relief, I can't explain it. I don't like pulling my hair out any more than the next person, I mean its like a curse. I'm not embarrassed to do it in public or in front of friends at school. I'm not completely sure why. I just hope it stops soon.

twist eyelashs until they break - sapphire - Jun 15th 2010

I know how you all feel! I've been twisting my eyelashes since I was about 6yrs old. I've been trying to keep it under control by just pressing on them. It's so hard to control it that sometimes I find myself twisting my eyelashes. It had gotten so bad that my lashes were short and long so they looked freaky. My friend noticed and asked me ,what the heck is wrong with your eyelashes? I was so embarrassed I did'nt know how to explain it. It has been a couple of months since I just been pressing my eyelashes and I noticed yesterday that they have grown back,and they look okay!

Good News - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jun 14th 2010

I am very pleased to read that you found a way to stop pulling your hair. Yes, finding the right motivation is an excellent way to stop. I want to suggest to everyone that they think of finding a strong motivation to help stop the  hair pulling behavior.

Congratulations

Dr. Schwartz

Well, I have some good news :) - Hope! - Jun 13th 2010

I started plucking my eyebrows around 7th grade after a friend and I were comparing our eyebrows to a pretty actress's. My friend said that I had really nice eyebrows, but I secretly thought they were a little too thick. So I started to pull them a little. When my parents noticed me doing it, even before I could really see much of a difference, they (especially my dad) thought it was just really weird. I was really hurt when my dad said this about how I, his pretty little girl, looked. It wasn't long after this when kids at school started to notice and make fun of me for it. Some kids were just interested and wanted to look closer. I hated it so much and would get really embarrassed. I obviously denied it. I eventually totally fessed up to my mom during junior high, but she just said that I needed to stop. Later during high school I told my two best friends, but they didn't really know what to say either. I thought that someone would know how to help me, but they just seemed confused. I kept making more goals of when I would have my eyebrows back... the next dance... when volleyball starts... when the play starts... prom... high school graduation.

And I knew it was out of my power because I am so weak, but I knew God was strong! So I prayed. A lot. Lots of novenas and rosaries and masses and lenten sacrifices, but I just couldn't stop! Whenever I was stressed it just helped me calm down so much. However, each month I would get a little hope because I noticed that they would grow a lot faster when I had my period, but once my period was over, they would stop growing again and I would go into dispair. I even noticed that I tried out pulling out my hair on my legs, arm pits, arms, and a little bit of my hair on my head a couple times, but thank God this never went far because it still hurt me and I didn't want it the problem to spread--I think I was just too terrified. I still make sure that I shave my legs and armpits often so that I'm not tempted.

Well, this last September I started dating the man I'm going to marry. Within a couple months he started asking me about my eyebrows, but I just kept saying that I just wasn't ready to talk about it. He actually had a problem with smoking. When I learned that he stopped smoking for me I secretly made a pact with God that I would offer my suffering of not plucking my eyebrows for my boyfriend to continue to not smoke. And it started to work! I quit cold turkey! I actually started a little bit again one night, but then the next day I learned that my boyfriend had smoked a couple cigarettes that night, as well, so I learned my lesson! About a month later I told my boyfriend about my problem. He agreed that it was quite weird, but he was so proud of me for quitting and offering it for him.

Now it's been eight months since I've really had a problem with plucking my eyebrows. I do pluck them every once in awhile on the part closest to my eyes, but it's never been noticeable and it's the only part I've had problems with. The rest all grew back perfectly and look AMAZING! I feel so much more confident and don't have to worry about if people are looking at my eyebrows or not. In fact - I'm happy when they do because I'm so proud of them. And when I do start having trouble wanting to pluck them, I tell my fiance --like a confession for Catholics! --and he reassures me that I look great and that he's so proud of me. (Oh yeah - and he still hasn't started smoking again!) It's still a daily struggle, but I'm proud of how far I've gotten and try to always look at the positive side--getting angry without REALLY makes it worse.

Plus, now if we see someone with this problem, we can feel compassion for them and ACCEPT them and see them as truly beautiful. When I see someone without eyebrows and any kinds of problem like this, I love them more because I know how tough it is. Just like Jesus on the cross--he understands all our problems. :) Just keep loving Him and loving others. Break down those walls by telling someone you trust, especially if you know someone who is willing to tell YOU their problems, too--then it gets more serious if you know you can help each other. I had this problem for about ten years, but it only took a minute for God to give me the ability to stop and give all that tension and pleasure for someone I really love. Don't beg God--he wants to give you this GIFT--just open your eyes to see who you're supposed to HELP because of this struggle.

I twist & rip - Hilary - May 29th 2010

I am 47 yrs. old & for as long as I remember have twisted my hair into little knots which I then rip off or sometimes have to cut off. Over the yrs. The areas have changed. The middle back of my head, the left, the right. Right now it is the left area behind my ear. I had to fess up to my hairdresser, and he helps by evening things out. I do this mainly when reading or watching TV, on the computer. Sometimes I can go for a few days without doing it, but it is just a part of my life now. It breaks my heart that I do this to myself. According to my mother, I have done this ever since I had hair around 1 yr. old.

In the rest of my life I am seen as a very successful person. I have hidden this from everyone but my hairdresser. Thank God he does cute shaggy cuts that disguise my problem but what I have always wanted is that Vidal Sasson swingy heavy healthy hair.

I also run my fingernails over the knots sometimes to hear that crunching sound. Thanks to all of you who make me feel not so alone.

will i stop at this age? - mini - May 8th 2010

what if ur really young like me. im only 14. i cant get therapy or take medication. do u think i will stop at this age? i only started when i was 13.

Tried to Stop - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - May 4th 2010

Hi Caitlan,

The best way to get help for this disorder is to enter psychotherapy. In this type of case, it is my opinion that cognitive behavioral therapy works best. Medication could be an additional component along with the therapy.

Dr. Schwartz

tried to stop - Caitlin - May 3rd 2010

I love to pule my hair out. it makes me feel good its kinda wierd. But to me its the best feeling in the world. I realy need to stop ive trided things but nothing helps! please help me!

my story - - Apr 30th 2010

hi im a female who thinks she suffers from trich. i didnt even know i had this condition at first, it was only when i started to reasearch 'hair pulling' i came across the name trich.
when i am busy or occupied thats when i don't pull. sometimes when there is nothing to do i would just sit there for hours picking at the back of my head, but when there is something to do, the pulling stops me from doing it. i absolutely hate it. if i pull out a long hair, will it grow back short?
there are some days when i dont pull at all, just lucky. i think i started when i turned 13 but i dont remember the first time pulled. but then i started to realise what i was doing, im now 14. i tend to do it most when im stressed out so i try to keep myself busy.
wearing gloves or putting on a hood helps but only temporary for me (as summer comes LOL). i seriously hope this 'condition' doesnt stay with me for the rest of my life.
and by the way there no support for me because i havent told my family or friends. the only way i can stop myself is if i actually believe i can stop, sounds a bit cheesy doesnt it? but i really hope i stop. :(
i would rather not give my name so you can call me ... mini

cant stop need help! - ct - Apr 25th 2010

I have been pulling my hair out and twirling it since i was 22, All i know is my mother sister and daughter have issues simular to me,I am 47 now i need help cause i'll be in a trance doing it for at least an hour everyday, funny thing is it grows back especially if i don't relax my hair but it's very course and that brings on my urge! Can anyone provide some insite. I'm just glad i'm not alone!

removed his eyebrows and his arm and leg hairs - worried mum - Apr 23rd 2010

My beautiful 8 year old son suddenly pulled out his eye lashes last October... one eye at a time.I was distraught and he just said to me"at least all the girls at school won't say I'm beautiful anymore". I followed this up with the liason officer at school but wiithin a week he had also removed his eyebrows and his arm and leg hairs. Since he was little everyone we meet has always commentated on how beautiful he is ...especially his long eyelashes, and i feel at such a loss and I feel such a failure as a mother to have my son feeling this way. in addition , my son's father has chosen not to be in our lives for more than about 8 days a years(4 visits of 2 days at a time, and before each visit my son shows great signs of stress and periods of extreme pulling. I have tried to comfort him, to reassure him and help him but to no success of stopping the pulling.His little brother,aged 5 is also very sad that his big brother "hurts"himself in this way. We love him so much ,we just want him to stop and be happy and carefree again. Any advice, much appreciated.

im the same way.. - Micah - Apr 21st 2010

whats up i have the same problem actully i was just typing in twisting hair to see if it was some form of depression..ever sense i can remmeber every morning specially if theres music playing i get a feeling of exstream overwhelming depression but it goes away once i get up move around and shower nd ive notice ever since i was a little boy ive always messed with my hair but rescently its gotten prett bad i twirl it until i knot it then i just rip  all of it out ive created somewhat of a balld spot on my head....and the other thing tht sucks is im anti-medication...less its from the earth :] so i dont plan on taking no pills and becomming a zombie i guess i found my own my to deal with my problem even though..it gets kinda tough sometimes...

twist - - Apr 20th 2010

I twist my hair all the time into little knots and pull the knots out too..no balding. it is very annoying and i cant stop. its like i like the feeling of the knots on my fingers....

Solution - Sarah - Apr 18th 2010

I understand that you wanna pull out your hair specially when you study, so why don't you try the following to avoid doing it:

  1. wear a hat or a hair towel so you can't touch it.
  2. You can put a tape around your finger tips, so it gets harder for you to pull them out.
  3. Try to be around some one so you can be ashamed of pulling hair infront of them.
  4. Place a mirror infront of you when you study, (you don't like watching your self pulling hair in the mirror).
  5. Medication

knotting hair - lisa - Apr 12th 2010

i tie my hair in little knot balls and then rip it out, no baldness just uneveness, family finds my hair knots all over house, i hate it!!

will power - ryan - Apr 9th 2010

guys it called will power im 11 and i just tell my self to stop and it works but i still want to do it and some times i get a little brush and pick the hair of the brush

Its a hair raising situation - Le'Ecia - Mar 31st 2010

Ever since I was in 1st grade I've always pulled my hair out. It started with my mother pulling my wild eyelashes and eyebrows out. It never hurt and I actually liked the feeling. I did it at school one day: grabbed a hand full from one of my pigtails and pulled. my hair was super thick when I was little so no one noticed right away. I weighed more than my classmates from elementary to my 6th grade year in junior high. The constant name calling and feeling of being left out caused to me to just pull to make the pain and anger go away. I stopped for awhile because I found a friend who didn't care about my weight or that i pulled my hair out. I felt she understood. Then she had to move and the lonliness came back. I didn't know why i pulled my hair out to the point of balled spots and neither did my family. they thot i was crazy or that it ran in the family bcuz two of my aunts ate their hair when they pulled it out. I just pulled the wirey, thick, deep-rooted hairs from my eyebrows, lashes, pubic hair, legs, underarm, sideburns, everywhere. there was no limit because there's no pain. I like to pull my hair to get the follicle and rub it across my lips. It cools me off somehow. When my stress is gone the hair pulling stops but i've never gone a day without it. I'm there are people out there that understand what i'm going through.

wow... - blah. - Mar 29th 2010

i pull my hair out when i get bored =(

so frustrating! - elisha - Mar 21st 2010

Its so frustrating though, as much as I try and stop I just cant and i want to have nice hair, i want to look nice and i've just ruined it. My mum and sister try and get me to stop, but if i could i would and they don't understand this. And i have my GCSE's and that gets me stressed and then my family argueing and ughhhhh its just so annoying. Even right now im fighting the urge to pull, i just pray to god i'll stop sometime soon, but i know its not god its me that has to do it aswell, but seeing others with this problem and discussing it will hopefully help me.. Thankyou and good luck everyone :) xx

i cant believe it - - Mar 19th 2010

so i never pulled ma hair b4...and in aug of 2009 while i ran ma fingers threw ma hair..i found a hair that felt wire thick..thatz all it took and i started feeling for all tha thick hairs and pulling them out.. when tha hair comes out wit tha hair follicle i like 2 run it across ma finger then pull it off and twist tha hair and brake it multiple timez.. so i started pullin ma hair at 20 ill b 21 n a few days and now i cant stop!!! i tried soo many timez and it seems ma hands have a mind of there own i dont even realize that im pullin.. n it makes me soo f*ckin mad, that im not strong enough to stop...n i get mad at ma mom cuz she thinkz its something i can just stop..hello if i could stop dont u think i would??!! do they think i wanna b bald or pullin ma f*ckin hair?? hell na i dont! i dont kno wut to do anymore... i guess just keep tryin and keep ma hands busy but even like that itz soo hard... it like i get this itch n ma brain and hands sayin "pull,pull,pull" i dont kno what to do anymore....f*ck it i guess   :(

It is what It is.. - - Mar 4th 2010

Im 18 years old, and I have been pulling out my eyelashes since a little after my fifteen birthday... I was going through alot of stress and i was deeply unhappy, so I began going to a therapist which lead to going to a psychiatrist, I have been taking meds on and off for the last four years of my life and sometimes they would have me on three to four medicines at once. Then I began to realize I didnt start my hair pulling until they started putting me on medicine, Im not saying thats the reason but it is a cause of stress, a major one if i may add, being told that something is wrong with you when your so young and thiers no way you can control it, thats bad, and a tip to you parents, seeing your mother cry and worry about you and treat you different even in the slightest bit does not help (sometimes the best help is to be treated like they know you they know who you are always have not a stupid diagnosis is going to change the way you are to me or our relationship, unles they have a bad relationship). I have been put on medicine like antidepressants, and anitpsychotics, they do help and I do stop pulling out my eyelashes but as soon as i stop taking them it starts up again sometimes really soon to a good 5 months, but once all my other problems come back so does the pulling i twist tug and stroke because i like the way my eyelashes feel its soothing and calming and then i start getting this scratching feeling that doesnt go away till i pull them out and that feels excellent it really does feel good, i justify it so i can do it, i say it will make them look better and so i can do it but by the time im done theres BIG gaps sometimes i dont have a single eyelash left. I want it to stop, but unless i take meds it doesnt go away, it will never go away so what is a girl to do?  :) Eventually I will go back on meds to stop again, and eventually I will get off, and start again... its a vicious cycle, but im stuck being this way.

im SOO tired of it.. but only for a moment. - - Feb 27th 2010

since the age of 6 i have pulled out my leg,nose,eyebrows,and eyelashes. my parents first sed it wax a bad habit. its obviously not..as i began going through puberty, i began to pull out my vaginal hair along w/ the other places i listed. its good to know im not the only one, but i rly need someone to help me. im tired of being this way && it goes on unnoticed. :(

pick my leg hairs - makayla - Feb 14th 2010

I don't know what i Have... Im 13 years old... writing & i tend to pick my leg hairs and my arm hairs A LOT. And i don't know what it is a disease Or what could someone tell me?  I can never stop picking. There is never a day where i don't pick my hairs... Its Hard to stop! Then sometimes My legs feel tingily inside & it feels weird and it bothers me when i sleep:( I probably pick like 100-1000 hairs a day...

Why? - - Dec 29th 2009

I DONT UNDERSTAND THE NEED TO PULL BEING MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE NEED TO BE LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS TO MAKE THE STRESS GO AWAY. I AM A PARENT OF AN 11 YR OLD CHILD THAT STARTED PULLING 1YR AGO AND REALIZE THAT SHE IS STRESSED OUT IN THE CITY LIFE, AND WITH HER GRANDPARENTS AS SITTERS, SO I AM MAKING CHANGES TO MOVE AND LIVE OUT IN THE COUNTRY WHERE THINGS ARE CALM AND NOT SO FAST PACED. SHE WILL NO LONGER HAVE GRANDPARENTS BABYSITTING. I WILL BE CHANGING JOBS SO THAT I CAN BE HOME LIKE I USED TO BE IN HER PREPULLING YEARS. I LOVE MY CHILD AND HURT EVERYTIME I CANT RELATE TO HER STRESS, BUT I AM TRYING TO MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES TO TRY AND DESTRESS HER LIFE. NOT SURE IF IT WILL WORK, BUT I'M DESPERATE TO HAVE MY CHILD FEEL GOOD ABOUT HERSELF AND NOT STRESS. I WISH EVERYONE LUCK IN FINDING A SOLUTION TO THE CAUSE, IT SEEMS THAT EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT STRESS AND IDENTIFYING THOSE STRESSFUL TIMES IS THE FIRST STEP TO FINDING A SOLUTION TO ELIMINATE THE STRESS.

It's bothering me. - - Dec 24th 2009

I'm a fifteen year-old girl who has been pulling my own eyelashes since 6th grade. Before my case was much worse (I'd pull them constantly!) but now it's reduced to when I'm nervous or stressed. I had therpy last year and she said (over the course of 7 months) that it was because I was stressed and so on. I've kept track of it to see if it was because I was nervous/stressed or not. And it turns out that when I do pull it is because I'm stressed and so on. My theripst gave me a stress ball to use whenever I would have the urge that I'd use it. I did, but it doesn't help for long. (I'd have the urge, then when it was gone I'd go back to whatever I was doing, but then a few minutes later the urge would come back!) (If I could I would see my theripst again, but she's at the middle school,(she works for the district) so I can't.) If there is another way to reduce it I'll be happy to hear (but it has to be another solution that doesn't require medication because other meds will effect my A.D.D. meds.)

I've told my mom about my disorder, but she's not a 100% sure if I have it. But before when I would hide the fact that I'd pull my eyelashes, whenever she would look at me she would ask, "...have you been pulling your eyelashes?" (Because there were always these abnormal patches of skin where eyelash used to be.) And I would deny it. (Like most do). But I'm sure I have it. Because it is created by impluse (and I'm awear that I am pulling!). It's botherig me, and I would like to reduce it farther to the point where I stop. Please, if you have any information on how to reduce it (without meds) please respond. Thank you.

Temporary Solutions? - - Dec 23rd 2009

I'm a 19 year old boy, I've been pulling my hair out since I was 12 or so... I had a serious problem with growing my hair out as it would always lead to me tugging and then pulling. I will say that it is almost certainly stress related. At times in my life when I don't have much to worry about I find it's far easier to not mess with my hair. However, between girls and my absolutely absurdly stress-inducing mother and college classes, it's almost impossible to live in a stress-free environment. For ladies this temporary solution might not be worth it, but... gentlemen, get buzzcuts. 3 on top, 1 or 2 on the sides. After about a month it gets long enough to tug on again, and you have to cut it. I look better with long hair but... when I have long hair I tend to tug... so... Now I keep short hair, which is better than no hair at all.

It feels so good! - Rustyn - Dec 19th 2009

Wow!  So there's a name for this.  I've read what you said about girls and the puberty thing.  Well, mine started as a baby.  My mother said she could always tell when I was tired, because I started pulling on my hair.  And now I'm 54 and guess what I do....  I suppose it could be stress related.  Sometimes I do it when I'm tired.  I have so much stress in my life (as everyone else) that I cannot tell you whether or not it's stress related.  I tend to do it all the time.  But I don't pull that much of my hair out.  It breaks off occasionally.  I love the way the cool or cold hair feels running under my fingernail on my 4th finger or/and my little finger.    If my hair gets long, I enjoy feeling cool or cold hair running between my middle and 4th fingers.  Sometimes I just twirl it.  It really depends on how long the hair is as to what my symptoms are.  If I wear a ponytail or cut my hair short, it just goes away until my fingers find hair again.  I suppose this means I have a mild case.  But I find it interesting that I have had it for as long as anyone can remember.  I suppose I'll be an old woman, sitting in my chair, watching TV and twirling my white hair.  =:o)

5+ years. - Brandy - Dec 16th 2009

Im 16 years old, since before I was a teenager I'd pull my hair out (for some reason im more attracted to the crinped ones) and pull it in between my teeth, like floss or something, alot of times i dont know im doing it until my gums start to bleed from it. Times i do know i feel like i haveeee to do it or something bad would happen and i get extremely paranoid. Im sick of it, i hate doing it ive lost so much hair i know, others sayyyy they cant see it but i see and feel it. Its progessively gotten worst. I thought for the longest time I had OCD until now.

ahh! - Help me :( - Dec 15th 2009

okay so i am a 14 year old girl. i have always pulled out my hair somewhat descreetly while i thought nobody was looking. it started a couple years ago when i began pulling stray hairs off of my shirts/sweatshirts.. etc. and dropping them on the floor during class. i was embarrassed if someone saw me but no one ever said anything. just recently, i have been under a lot of stress about my grades. anytime i get stressed, or bored, or anything, i pull out strands of hair. usually they are the small, thick hairs that stick out on the top of my head. most of the time i am looking in a mirror while i am doing this, alone. after  pull them out, i examine the white tips, which fascinate me. when i pull out hairs without white tips, i have to pull out more until i get to some that have white tips. i'm really scared that i will become one of the girls who have commented on this who have really serious issues. i don't know if i should tell my parents because it doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but my scalp is becoming very visable and soon it will be unattractive. i pretend it is making my hair look better, but it is making it worse!! please help i have no idea what to do about my issue!! :(

Eyebrows - KC - Dec 9th 2009

I briefly twirled and pulled out my hair when I was in early adolescence. I moved to my left eyebrow where I pull and pull until the whole end my eyebrow was gone. I was so embarrassed but I didn't know how to stop, it was such a compulsion. I was able to eventually stop for a few months, but I started it again and it wound up moving to my right eyebrow where I pulled out almost half of my eyebrow. At one point I was left with only half an eyebrow on each side. Rigth now I have half an eyebrow on my left side, but have successfully allowed the right one to regrow. I pull the hair out, and sometimes I pull the skin off too, so I wind up with a big scab where my eyebrow should be. My mother occassionally makes fun of me for it. It's very embarrassing and I try to cover the scab with concealer and use an eyeliner pencil to make it look like a have a whole eyebrow. I've never talked to anyone at all about this, I'm just too embarrassed.

Is their any other way to stop?? - Brie - Dec 8th 2009

i use to think i was the only person in the world who pulled their hair out... but i came across this page tonight and saw that i'm not alone.. no one but my mom has noticed that i do it and you say the only way to stop is to go to a pshyciatrist but i use to pull it out in 6th grade after my grandpa died.. it wasn't much my hair was still thick but in 7th grade i stoped.. in 8th though i started again because the stress was too much, anyway i was wonder if their was anyway to stop without going to a doctor... if their is anyway to relax and just stop to where my hair is thick as it use to be?? thank you..

I do it too - Tang. - Dec 4th 2009

Hi, Im from Australia. I actually only just realised now that it is a disorder! Ive been pulling my hair out since i was in 11, now im 18, i still havent stopped. 

But i do it everyday but not obsessively, just a little here and there..but it annoys me because i start pulling my hair out whenever i sit down to start studying or lying down watching tv on the couch! I have beautiful, silky, thick hair. I still do, but mum knows best. She's like your hair is so much thinner now! I do have stubbles on my head because of re-growth. So ive been doing it for so many years... its a very bad habit..

I dont know if others experince it but for me, its more of finding the strain of hair that gives you a specific type of sensation i.e pain that makes you feel good when you pull it. The pain that lingers after you pull your hair..so not all strains are like that and only at specific spots..that's my story... i know i like pain in a way but to me its almost like ectasy...

i do need help... isit possible to do it without going to a psychologist? because it is after all quiet embarassing...

Thanks

My son pulls out his arm hair - Jo - Dec 4th 2009

last night as I was hugging my 11 year old son, I noticed that his arms were prickly. He had shaved his arm several months ago with my razor while in the shower and I asked him if he did this again. He replied that he did not shave it, that he's been pulling it out. I looked at both arms and realized that they were almost completely bald!! Please help, I am very scared for him. We talked for awhile, but I did not want to push the issue the wrong way without being educated and informed about this first. I just found this site today.

Help - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Dec 2nd 2009

Hi Rachel,

It is good that you have the kind of parents who understand the need for therapy. However, you need a particular type of therapy. Your parents need to find a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who is trained in and uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Behavior Modification, to train you to stop. In addition, sometimes medication helps. The Psychologist could also send you for evaluation for medicine if her or she believes its called for.

Please stop hiding this from your parents and show them my response.

Good Luck

I really need help - Rachel Hu - Dec 2nd 2009

I have been pulling out my hair for three years now (i'm eleven) I have a bald patch three inches wide and Im pulling out more hair as I type this. Im perfectly aware of the horror I do to myself but just cant stop. At school I recive strange stares and questions. I even have a stratgy to pull hair in the under layre of hair so the top still looks fine. I need to stop. I even pull out hair thats just growing in and pick the thickest to chew on, about three times a day i recive the question " why are you eating your hair?" i never have an answer. Ever since it started i feel nervous just to touch my hair because i know im going to pull some . when i tie up my hair in a pony tail its always an eighth of the size of someone elses so i always take it sown. my family has tried to help me with therpy but gave up, recently they have been under the impression that im on the mend but behind their backs im so stressed about my secret that i pull more. I NEED HELP!

Crazy Girl - Lindsey - Dec 1st 2009

I was shocked when I learned at age 13 i wasnt the only one who pulled out my hair. Not only that, but what i was doing was a condition with a name and symptoms. Ive been a puller for 7 years now. I'm now 16, and suffer from social anxiety. I fell like I must be crazy or something. I wear hairstyles that hide my 1x2 inch oval spot on my head. It started when i was 9, i pulled out a hair one day while listening to the teacher read out of pure boredom, and was interested to see the white root clinging to the hair. It became a game to pick the hairs with the white root. I feel sick about this next line- i couldnt stop. It felt better and better each time i did it. it got to the point where the spot was a good 3x4 inches. i wore large elastic headbands to hide the spot. As i got older i let the spot recede to its current 1x2 inch spot, but no matter how hard i think i want to stop i CANT. i swear im crazy sometime, like something must be wrong with me. recently the spot hasnt grown hair back. Its been 3 weeks like this. I'm so distressed i want to pull. oh wait i cant. 

Sincerely-

Trich Lindsey

Why - I hate my hair - Nov 19th 2009

Im 13 ive been pulling my hair out for12 years and it seems like im never ever going to stop is it weird that after i pullit out i smell it ??? is there a cure because ive been looking hard and i cant find one its just so depressing having this burden.

i break my hair - - Nov 10th 2009

i dont pull the hair from the root...i just break it and its starting to make my hair look uneven.i dont want counselor help but i dont want to continue doing it. what are some suggestions to stop?i do it and dont even realize im doing it untill theres a clump of hair by my side.its so annoying.help?please?

Eyebrows - Cheer - Nov 9th 2009

I am a twelve year old girl and I have been constantly plucking my eyebrows out for 3 years. I've always been a rather solitude and quiet, and... lonely (Despite my decent amount of friends). School was really starting to beat down on me in fourth grade and that is when it started, because I felt as if that was the only thing I could anchor my sanity to. (My mother would always get VERY angry if I made any less than an A on my work, so I always worried sick about my dear grades, and I felt like I could talk to absolutely no one about it.) After I plucked out my eyebrows for the first time, it felt so relieving. Then, as people started to notice my bare eyebrows, my world just crashed. It's so embarrassing, especially when even people you don't even know begin to ask questions like, "What happened to your eyebrows?" "Do you shave your eyebrows?" "Why do you shave your eyebrows?". When my mother started to notice, she insisted I go to a counseler, but that embarrassed me so much, the thought of more people knowing, that I began to cry. (Until this day she still wants me to go to a counseler.) A few months ago she even told my health doctor about it, and he insisted the same thing. I really want help, but I'm scared of talking face-to-face with someone about my problem. Really, really scared. I was thinking maybe an online counseler might do, but I don't know.
Suggestions?

& I am happy that I am not alone with this disorder, but I'm also depressed because others have to go through the pain and embarrassment.

Pulling Out/Eating Arm Hair - - Sep 25th 2009

Well I'm a guy in my 40s now, it started when I was in 8th grade.  Never liked being has hairy as I was and somehow started chewing on the hair at my wrists and knuckles.  Got to the point where I had obvious areas with only skin on my arms.  I've seen 10s of psychaitrists(sp) and have taken so many different pills.  Unfortunately I do not believe I'll ever get past it and that is interesting because I do remember being young and hoping this situation would go away soon.  I wear only long sleeves now and use an epilator to help keep this the slightest bit of control.  The one thing I didn't do is get help early.  Maybe that would be my advice to all the younger people who have posted to this site.  Keep your head up and remember that it's not all about this one thing.  Maybe you'll have to deal with it for a long time but find a way and then move on with the more wonderful things you will experience.

I pull out my eyelashes. - - Sep 22nd 2009

I am 12 years old. I have been pulling out my Eyelashes for the past few years. I used to pull out my eyebrows. But now I just pluck them and they HAVE to be perfect or I will just freak out. I usually just pull out my Right eye, eyelashes. For some reason it hurts to pull out the left ones. I have a huge like patch where I have no Eyelashes. It is really annoying. And today at school in class the boy I like was like "You dont have eyelashes right here" And I was like "I know" He said "Why dont you?" I just said "Because." There is another girl at my school that has trichitillamania but she pulls the hair on her head. One time she asked me if I had it but I said no. But I later told her and she was happy to know that she wasnt the only person that had it. It really sucks. Especially when people start to notice it and they like point it out. But you dont want to tell them because you are afraid of what they will say. Or who else they are going to tell. So I just keep it a secret. Except I have a friend that I thought that I could trust with anything but I told her about my trichitillamania and now she makes fun of me. I almost punched her in the face the other day because she was making fun of me and telling alot of people about it. But I just walked away. Then I noticed that I was pulling again. I just cant stop. Help Me!

Until I die!!! - A girl in turmoil - Sep 18th 2009

Im 20 years old and I've been dealing with this habit since I was 7 or 8. The pulling over the years was horrible from the very beginning I pulled big chucks out until my head was bleeding ( I still do it and it still bleeds). I have one of the worse cases out there, the only reason i just pulled my hair out from my head......until puberty hit ,as crazy,weird and gross as it sounds I pull out hair from my vagina,underarms,eyebrows,legs,knuckles...etc anywhere I can find hair, I've even pulled nose hairs before. Sometimes I even go as far as pulling out someone else's hair. It was so bad that i've been wearing wigs since a little girl and one day when i was in gym class a boy pulled my wig off in front of every1 and i couldnt do anything but run out the gym crying with a shiny bald head with my wig on the floor, I was never able to get over that, many years later a boy that was there brought it back up and I was just so hurt and felt so low. I have many stories about what has happened to me over the years because of this disease, it has really took my life from me and at 20 years old im just (trying) to get over it I have my own hair now and the day i felt my hair touch my back was the day you would have thought i was touched by god, I couldnt stay out the mirror....but I still struggle with but I calmed it down because im so scared 2 lose what i have now this is the longest its ever been and that keeps me going. I know this disease has taken me over and because In had it to long and has been going really hard at it.....this will be with me until the day I die!!!!!!

It's become an obession. - Amy Elizabeth - Sep 16th 2009

I'm only 14 and I've been doing since I was 12. I pull my hair and class and hide it so no one sees what I was doing. People think I'm crazy because they catch me doing it. My mom used to scream at me because she would find huge chunks of hair in my room or lying around the house. The hair bunches would get stuck and clog the vaccum cleaner. I'm so used to doing that sometimes I don't even know I'm pulling out my hair. I thought I was going insane. Now that I know I'm not the only one who does that, it makes me feel so much better. The sad part is as I took a break to write this is started to pull out my hair. I want to stop this "habbit" but I can't seem to stop. Hopefully, there is some medicine I can take to help me stop this. If not, it looks like I'm going to have to suffer.

Eye lashes - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Sep 10th 2009

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I agree with the first MD who suggested that your son be seen by a child psychologist. The notion that taking him to a specialist for help will bring attention to his behavior is akin to not seeing an MD about a sore throat and fever because that may scare the child. Well, sore throats can get worse, though not always, and your son's problem could get worse or go away. However, when my now adult children were small we always took the cautious route under the concept that it is better to be "safe than sorry."

Therefore, I suggest a child psychologist see your son to diagnose what may be happening for him. It could be that he is experiencing increased anxiety right now. The problem would be to find out how to help him reduce that anxiety and the psychologist could help all of you with that.

Yes, have your son seen by a child psychologist. It will reduce everyones anxiety. That is my opinion and what I would have done.

Good luck,

Dr. Schwartz

 

An Upsetting Unforgetable Summer! - Julie Jones - Sep 10th 2009

I am the mother of three beautiful boys. The oldest two always keep our summers busy playing All-Star Baseball. They are very athletic and this is always fun. But this summer during the month of July my baby boy who just turned six years old decided to pull his top eyelashes out! At first we were not sure if they were falling out or if he was pulling them himself? Well my husband being Mr. Mancho was in denial. But I knew by the pattern that he had done it! What are the chances that only the top eyelashes would fall out? I was really upset!!! A week and a half later he had not one eyelash top or bottom eyelash. The really strange thing about it all is that, the other four of us in this house had never once saw him pull on his eyelashes? One time my middle son said that he had noticed him pulling on them at one point. Needless to say, I was in tears and my husband still was not accepting the fact that our child would do this to himself. Our family Dr. wanted to send him to a pshycologist(this Dr. said that they may never grow back!! UGH!!!), another Dr. said that it was common and not to say anything to him about it or draw attention to the habit. The same Dr. said it could be allergies and he was rubbing them out. And that was that! So we did try scolding him for it, and he did tell us that he would not do it again. Well he couldn't do it again- I thought because he had no more eyelashes to pull out!!! Well school started and in the comment section of a form that I had to fill out for his teacher I explained to her what had been going on so if kids picked on him she would realize what he had done or was doing.  The beginning of this week I realized that he has alot of eyelashes growing back!!! I was so happy!!! Until last night my husband caught him in his room playing a video game while picking and rubbing his right EYEBROW! not Eyelashes! He looked like Vanilla Ice when he had shaved his eyebrows. It looks pretty bad, and I am not saying that to upset all the people that have this problem. I am just new to this disorder and find it very upsetting to me as a mother. My husband was so angry and does not know how to handle this kind of situation, which neither do I? We do not want mentally scar him by saying something hurtful to him out of anger or cause him to want to do it more? I find myself having feelings of anger about it, but mainly because I do not want anyone picking on my child over something that I have just now discovered is a true disorder that we may can help him with. I can tell that my baby does not really understand why he is doing it? And I think he wants to stop...I can see it in his eyes when he gets upset when we talk to him about it. He does not want me or his Dad to be mad at him. This afternoon my husband was out of my sons sight for about fifteen minutes and in those few minutes while he was left to play in his room he had pulled somemore out of the right brow and started on his left brow. When we confronted him about it he started crying bacause he thought we were going to be mad (which my husband was, but i made him go outside!) His face was so pitiful and it was not because of the baldness; it just had a look of dispare on it.!! I took him in my room and we talked about the when, where, and whys of it all. We hugged and I told him that I thought he was beautiful to me no matter what, but that I wished he would keep his promise to me to try hard not to pull them out. I don't know what else to do that is why I am sending these comments.  I really would like to talk to someone who has suffered from this problem since a young age like my son, so I could understand and find some peace with this. He is handsome and smart. I wished I had all the answers but I don't.  I would like to know what to expect and how to handle him. What if he starts with his hair? and why did he start with his eyelashes and eyebrows?  Thanks for letting me comment.                 

pulling & tucking hair - Chey - Sep 4th 2009

I'm 35 years old and I've been pulling and tucking strands of hair since I was 6 years old.  I remember I was having a hard time in first grade learning to read so I kind of went into a trance and started pulling my bangs.  I didn't pluck my hair, I started tucking and rubbing the ends against my fingertips and hearing the crunching sound.  Sometimes I would take the ends of my hair, bite them to make it even and rub it against my fingertips and putting my hand close to my ears so I can hear the crunching sound.  It has changed over the years, but the one spot I always have is behind my ears.  I have strands that are not even and I pull them, twist them, without plucking my hairs and its like going into a trance.  I can go on for hours, even at work which is embarrasing.  My family (everyone) would tell me to stop but I cant.  I get this urge out of nowhere to pull my hair its uncontrollable.  Sometimes the urge stops and I can go without it for weeks even months.  I have been able to control it lot more as an adult.  When I was in middle and high school it was aweful, people would make fun of me playing with the ends of my hair.  When I pull my hair in ponytails I can go without it but sometimes I pull my hair even if its in a ponytail. 

When I notice that I'm pulling my hair, I start analyzing what's going on in my life and in my mind and I have found that it is anxiety-- like when I'm worried about my job, mortage payments.  It usually happens while I'm watching TV or in the commuting hours of traffic jams, or when I'm in a doctor's office waiting.  So to me it happens when I have nothing else to do with my hands and if I'm relaxing.  If it's in a doctor's office or an office where I have to sit, watch boring tv with other people perfect strangers trying not to make boring conversation, then I begin my trance and start "playing" /pulling my hair.  I dont have bald spots, even though sometimes my hair is pulled out.  I also split my split ends too and can go for hours-- but that usually ends when I go to the hairstylist.  I do have shorter strands of hair behind my ears, where most of the pulling takes place.  I think its a weak spot also- behind my ears.  I have long beautiful black hair and its thick and wavy and I have a lot of hair.  I have people ask me if I would my hair for wigs. 

I started to think this was a disorder after watching so many detective series where people are analized and diagnosed for their behaviors.  So I went online and wrote hair twisting and pulling and voila'  here I am.  I now can tell my family its a stress / anxiety driven disorder-- and most important-- I'M NOT ALONE!!!

It's been good reading about ways to control this urge.  I have tried many fo them and will keep up trying to control my anxiety attacks.  thanks for all the tips and advise.

why cant i stop - sarah - Aug 28th 2009

hi ive been pulling my hair out now for yrs now it all started and  young age of 6. i have tryed to stop and i have done but i have started again.  i find its only when im stressed  when i twirl twist and rip it out my hair looks like its been burt its got in such bad condtion now my main problem is i have  got a daughter and ive notice shes have started to twist her hair im desprate to stop as i dont want her doing the same thing as me and shes only 3  can  anyone help thanks

i feel disgusting yet i cant stop. - - Aug 26th 2009

Im 18, and is starting pulling my hair out last summer, but it was only in one spot. my sister noticed it and i told her its always been there. This summer tho they pulling is worse. Before i typed this i was pulling. Its in all different areas of my head tho now. I have spots that are so big its nearly impossible to cover. i am suppose to going into my senior year at a new school in a week, and i dont want to go. im embarressed for people to see me, i know they'll have plenty to say. i dont know how to even explain this to my mother. i have a history of doing self destructive things since i was in the 5th grade, from burning myself, to cutting. i dont want to tell her about his and add on to it. i feel like one big dissapointment to her. i just recently told my girlfriend, and even tho i know she loves me no matter, it embaresses me to let her see me like this. i obv want her to think im beautiful, and a girl with a bunch of bald spots isnt. i feel DISGUSTING and i dont know that im suppose to do about it because i cant stop. My bed, and my bathroom sink have tons and tons of hairs all over them from me pulling. im scared if i dont stop ill end up having to wear a wig. i just dont know what to do, i have high anxiety and depression and this, just doesnt help.

Getting Help - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Aug 23rd 2009

Hi Jane and all others looking for help,

The best type of therapy for hair pulling is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is provided by a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the use of CBT and behavioral methods.

If you fear that your parents will not take this seriously, show them this website and these comments to our article.

Dr. Schwartz

hair pulling - - Aug 22nd 2009

help me:(  i pull my thick black curley hairs out

cant fight the urge - jane - Aug 20th 2009

i have been twirling, snapping and pulling out my hair for over 12 years. i am nealry 19 and have been pulling my hair out day in day out since maybe 7 or when ever i had enough hair to pull out.i got it off my mum but she just tiwrls it around her finger where as i would twirl ,snap and pull out strands of hair. sometimes seeing how many strands i pulll out at the one time makes me sick but i cant help it, the feeling its so addictive, i dont do it because im stressed or anything ill do it just beacuse i can, ill watch tv and ill do it, be on msn and ill do it , i always just thought it was a bad habit didnt relise how many others had this problem. everyone i no has nice long hair and i just cant get mine to grow no matter how hard i try i stop i just cant and i want to , im sick of seeing slight bald patches on the back of my head or tying up my hair and half of it falling out of the pony tail because its been snapped and isnt long enough.everyday when i do my hair whether it be up or down i have to use anther mirror just incase its visable that im going bald, ill use bobby pins to move some bits of hair to cover the patch or ill tease my hair with a comb to make it look fuller, i wish i coould wake up oneday and being able to tie my hair up without worrying if my bald patch is showing.its embarrasing for a 19 year old female.the hting is though i dont no who else i can talk to about it , i dont think my family will take it so serisly to the point where i need to get professional help and even if i was going to get help i wouldnt no who to go to.

Helppp. - Alyssa. - Aug 15th 2009

Hi , I'm Alyssa. I'm 13 years old. I've been pulling my eyelashes out since about March 2009 . I don't really know why I do it , but it feels good to pluck them out. I try to stop because my mom threatens to punish me if I don't but I can't stop and she thinks I can just stop just like that...but I honestly can't. She wants me to go see a counseler because she thinks it'll help. I just want a way to stop because I hate myself for doing this. I need help.

i hate my hair - - Jul 25th 2009

I am 14 nearly 15 years old. i have been pulling my hair out for a good 3-4 years.I have bald patches at the top of my head.i have extensions and i cover up the bald pathches with har bands and clips. School is really tough because im in year 9 with girls who are picky about loos and other peouple.I know peouple stare and point because im different to the rest of them. I cry myself to sleep most nights thinking to myself i wih i can be normal. I didnt have a good childhood and i am deapressed cause i hate going out and im not comftable. I do go counselling and he has given me tablets but i still pull m hair out and eat the tips. Im overweight cause i comfort eat. i hate the way i look compared to everyone else. I want a full head of hair again like i used to.

Hi am 13 guys im pulling but am trying to stop - - Jul 6th 2009

i am 13 years old and i pull out my hair and eat the root which is clear with a black tip. i am bald with peach fuzz no one knows, because i've blamed it on a perm( chemical used to make air straight). i were a wig but im still a popualar girl but im living a double life and im tring to stop. i've found tips that have helped and i'v gone a full weak without pulling, but got back into that hair pulling stage, but im really ready to stop.  there is hope for all of us with prayer! i belive that i can stop without telling my mom, she hasen't found out cause i wash them down the sink, valcum, or flush them down the toilet. im going to get threw this it has to rain for there to be a rainbow. GOD BLESS

Hair Pulling - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jul 1st 2009

I hear, loud and clear, the plea for help with this problem of hair pulling. I want to urge all of you to enter psychotherapy to gain help with this. It can be either psychodynamic therapy or cognitive behavior therapy but you need to get involved. Evidently, this problem is based in lots of anxiety and obsessional thinking. As far as I know, medications do not really help, except in a few cases. However, intensive psychotherapy is the way to go with this aggravating and painful problem.

Dr. Schwartz

For half of my life - - Jul 1st 2009

I'm 31 years old and have been pulling out my leg hair for over 15 years..I will sometimes pull out my arm hair as well but very rarely.  I don't know why i do this but I find I can't stop. Every day I say, this is the last day. This has caused scarring on my legs b/c of ingrown hairs but yet i keep it doing it. I'm embarassed of how my legs look but yet I keep pulling and poking.  I want to stop this behavior as I'm completely embarassed about it. But it's always in my head, I daydream about it.  I just dont' understand it. I have two beautiful young children and I don't want them to learn about this behavior.  I feel like I'm crazy b/c I do this.  I know i'm not "really" crazy but it's scary that something so disturbing has such a control over my life.  I want to stop!!!! 

What can I do? - - Jun 28th 2009

I am a 19 year old male. I work 40 hours a week cooking in a restaraunt, alongside a full college schedule. I had a stable childhood only marked by two years of social anxiety and depression in junior high school. However, since those two years, despite all the improvements in my self-esteem and confidence, i have had this nervous habit of twisting my hair (amongst other things; chain smoking, nail-biting, et cetera).

Simply put, i cannot afford psychological help. I don't have health insurance, I haven't had any vaccines (or even really a trip to the doctor) since I was about 14. I am on the "dont get sick or hurt, period" health care plan.

Keeping a complete very-short buzzcut worked for a long time (no hair to twist), however I really feel like the root anxiety issues never got resolved.

My question: is there any help or solutions out there for those of us who just can't afford the price tag on psychiatry?

Hair pulling - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jun 24th 2009

There is a loud plea that I am hearing from all of you who feel stuck with this hair pulling problem. Everyone from 14 year old Katie and those who are older.

I am also hearing a sense from all of you that this is a hopeless problem. It is not.

Hair pulling is complicated and so, what I say here, may not fully apply. However, overall, it has to do with coping with lots of anxiety and tension. That is why some of you pull your hair. Does everyone who pulls hair feel anxiety? Probably not. Would relieving anxiety for those of you who pull hair help you stop? Yes.

I want to urge all of you who pull your hair to seek psychotherapy. In fact, you should seek Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).

Katie, you need to cooperation of your parents to be able to receive therapy and I urge you to speak to them.

With CBT and Behavior Modification, you can conquer this thing and no longer feel bothered.

Dr. Schwartz

at least i'm not alone. - katy - Jun 24th 2009

Hi, I'm katy and I saw that people wrote about their hair pulling problems. I'm 14 and I have the same problem, it sucks. But I'm glad to know that I'm not alone. I've been pulling for 3 years and have really messed up my hair, I can't stop I've tried everything, gloves, hats, things to keep my hands busy, etc. And not to sound like a creeper, but I think that maybe if we talk about it,it will help us. Just to know that were not alone. I cry so much over this I can't stand it anymore. People ask why my hair is like this and I don't know what to say. I'm gonna be a sophmore this upcoming school year, and I know that starting high school with this problem really made me shy(er) and held me back a lot. The guy I really liked said that he liked me back except that he wouldn't date me because my hair is fucked up. Its even harder to look around at all the other girls at school with gorgeous, long, think hair. You would never know how much something liked this ruins their life. if you think about it, everyone shows their anxioity/saddness in different ways, but the way we show it is more noticible. And that makes it a never ending cycle. We get sad because our hair looks like shit so we pull even more. Everything on that website is exactly how I feel, and I think talking to someone with the same problem is my last restort, so please email back. Katyyfaceee@aim.com Thanks, katy.

I CANT STOP!!! - - Jun 16th 2009

IM 27 YRS OLD AND IVE BEEN PULLING OUT MY HAIR SINCE I WAS INT 3RD GRADE...I CANT STOP... IVE QUIT FOR 2 WEEKS THE MOST AND THEN THE URGE TO PULLING COMES BACK... IVE TRIED GETTING MY NAILS DONE TO HAIR EXTENSIONS I HATE THAT I CANT WeAR MY hair up or all down because my bald spots show...i cant get into the pool and wet my full head i hate it its killing me inside...no one would ever have a clue because im such a funny and talkative person..im into my looks and love fashion so people see me as happy person...but only if they new how bad its killing me inside ..i look in the mirror after i pulled out so much hair and i get sressed and more depressed feeling guilty of what i did...i ask why me...why?

Pulling Hair Out - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Jun 12th 2009

I must caution all of our readers that smoking is not the way to try and stop pulling hair. Smoking is extremely dangerous to life and health and yields no good results. Psychotherapy is the way to go in getting help for this obsessive compulsive anxiety problem.

Dr. Schwartz

smokeing . . . - - Jun 12th 2009

my way of easeing the twisting stoped it for a long time till i broke up with my girl.

Kind of helpful. - - Jun 11th 2009

I still pull my hair and i feel like i always will have these unsightly bald spots but i have found ways to keep it to, what it seems like, a bare minimum.

Anyone who truely suffers from this knows how it seems almost impossible to stop or even to resist. I started smoking to try and keep it low and it helped but i would strongly advise NOT smoking. Quitting smoking (after 8 monthes) was far easier to quit than pulling because i can throw away cigerettes but (whats left of my hair) is always there.


Tips for those who pull (especially those who pull thick unruly "bad" hairs)...

Find and pull ONE.

  • Try to feel them but resist the urge to pull until you find ONE that is the worst. Pull that and feel it instead of pull out others. Save it for as long as possible.

Wear your hair up.

  • You can still pull while its up but it makes it more difficult, and more evident therefore more embarrasing when in public.

Find someone you trust & love to physically make you stop

  • Choose someone you are with most of the day to call you on it. Even push your hand down. You can even choose someone at work and someone at home. Warn this person before asking because, when i begin to pull and someone tells me to stop i get annoyed and even nasty with them.

Though embarrasing tell people who ask your problem.

  • Its embarrasing but that more people that know the more people that notice therefore the less likely you are to do it infront of everyone. (also a chance to relieve some stress by tell someone else)

Never let your hand go above your chin.

  • The quick you resist the less of an erge. Though the erge is still extreme the less you touch the easier it is.

 

I'm glad i found this website because now im not alone. I have this problem and i have found ways that sometimes help me control myself.

Thank you Dr. Schwartz

Can't Quit - Claire - Jun 11th 2009

I'm 15 and have been pulling my hair for about six monthes and i have gone from mild to very severe hair pulling. I need to wear my hair up everyday, so to hide my evident bald spots around the crown of my head along with my bangs. I always think about, its always an erge i must try to control without much sucess. I have been going well the past 4 days with only pulling 3-10 hairs a day, but i still feel the need to pull and must resist, instead i just play with my hair and pretend to pull. I feel the most erge to pull the thick, wirey, uneven hairs, and i get a sense of relief and graditude once i have pulled. At my peak i can pull  over 100 piece of hair in the time for a 30-minute show to end. I have beatuiful long dark curly hair that is now patchy and uneven.

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