What is Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder) & how do we deal with it? Mental Health with Kati

Hey Everyone! This week’s video is something that you have been waiting forever and ever and ever and ever for! Trichotillomania. What is it? Why do we do it? How do we get help for it? So stay tuned. So, like I said, today I am going to talk about Trichotillomania. Now, I know some of you are like, “What the heck is that? That’s a really long word.” That really long, ridiculously sounding word is actually just hair-pulling. So, we can just call it hair-pulling if you want, but Trichotillomania is kind of fun to say. Trichotillomania is a disorder that falls under impulse control disorders. Meaning it falls under the same realm as like impulsive gamblers and stuff like that, things where we act impulsively and there is a lot of tension around us trying to stop. I have always lumped it in the same category as kind of having an addiction to something, if that makes sense. Because we have and impulse, right? It’s almost like I talk about in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) we have this thought or this belief and we have this action that we’re supposed to do, right, and we do it. We do it. It’s and impulse. We don’t think about it. And so, we get in this rhythm of just doing it and not thinking about it and the way that you characterize trichotillomania is when there is a significant amount of hair loss. Now the most common places that people pull is from our head, from our eyebrows, and from our eyelashes. Some people will pull body hair from their arms, legs, where ever you grow hair, you can pull it out and it will be characterized as trichotillomania Now, that’s really it. That’s all we need for the diagnosis. We pull our hair and there is noticible hair loss and that there is tension or extra anxiety before we pull, or if we’re trying to stop and we don’t. Most of my clients, to be honest, this isn’t the main issue. Trichotillomania isn’t something where you have no other struggles, ,but you pull your hair. That just isn’t so. Usually, it is from something else. You may have depression or anxiety, have an eating disorder, or self-harm. There is something else going on. You know how I have talked about before in my eating disorder and self-harm videos This is often times a coping skill that we’re using in lieu of other healthy coping skills. Trichotillomania is another one of those. We need an outlet. Sometimes our eating disorder or self-harm aren’t enough. This is something that we will do and don’t even know. We could be completely relaxed. Sometimes I will ask my clients a really tricky question and when they’re thinking about it they start feeling for the hairs to pull. The first thing that I have my clients do is just recognize when you’re doing it. Try to pull attention to it. I know it is hard, I’m not expecting you to know 100%, I pulled here and then. Just start noticing how often you are doing it and if something triggers it. If we know when we were doing it, we can often track it back to something that may have happened earlier. That’s why I believe that talk therapy as well as CBT are the best treatments for trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is something that is a subset of our other issues and we need to work through those. You’ll be surprised, with therapy, the hair pulling will go away. I’ve had many clients even in inpatient where they’ve been hair pulling forever and a lot of them would cut their hair really short. One woman wore a wig and some people wear hats and stuff because of the big significant bald spots. For these two clients it was trauma they had in childhood, once they started processing that, the pulling urges went away. If this is something that you struggle with or that you have been worried to talk about, know that you’re not alone, tons of people struggle with this. It is just another coping skill that we’re using. We need to process what we’re going through in our life and come up with some new coping skills to make it go away. I promise you the urges will go away and that tension, that build-up will go away, we just have to work through it. If any of you have worked on this before with your therapist, group therapy or whatever leave your comments below, let us know what has helped you. I can always learn from you as much as you can help others in our community and that’s what makes us so great, right. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel, add me to your circles on Google+ so that when you leave a comment I can reply. Give this a thumbs up if you liked it and keep checking back as we work towards a healthy mind and a healthy body Subtitles by the Amara.org community

100 thoughts on “What is Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder) & how do we deal with it? Mental Health with Kati

  1. I have a problem with this like pulling my eyebrows eyelashes pulling my hair and biting my hair on my arms and I just do it and I car’t stop x

  2. how common is it for this disorder to be very early onset? I have been pulling since I was 2 and I'm 23 now. I'm not sure if it's a bad coping mechanism or if my brain is just wired wrong.

  3. People call me cancer girl because I have pulled out my eyebrows, head hair, eyelashes, leg/arm hairs. I have had this for 4 years I started at 9

  4. I pull pubic, armpit, arm, leg and back hair. Sometimes I also use tweezers to pull out chest hair. I’m really obsessed with pulling. I cant stop. It hurts when I do it. I dont think I like it, but I just have the urge to do it and can’t stop.

  5. What if a therapist doesn’t know what it is, what if they don’t believe me? What if they think I’m just pulling for attention????

  6. To all the people who have this just like me I wish I would have been there when people called you out I'm sorry I know its tough and makes you feel bad but stay strong my friends let's be positive I had this since I less like 4 years old so I know the pain especially in school I even remember my first time doing it too

  7. Most people don't know that demonic spirits are behind this issue and the solution is a deliverance" most refer to it as a exorcism if a Catholic.

  8. Im not sure if Im going through this? I mean. Okay, so, I like to play with my hair alot, and feel my scalp (pull out dandruff if I happen to find any. Alot of the time while im feeling my scalp, I scratch at it not because its itchy, but because I like the feel of it under my nails) and find random strands of hair to pluck out. I don't have any bald spots since Im not going at my head.

    And, I guess pulling out strands of hair is stress relieving. Its more satisfying than anything. I like tug at the root so I pull out the whole thing (and feel it come out of my head, and not just pop off the strand of hair), so i can look at it?

    Its weird.

    But it's still really embarassing to have my friends and family (sometimes strangers, too) telling me to stop pulling out pieces of my hair.

  9. Does anyone think from this problem Corkscrew hairs (Kinking of individual hairs) google in Kinking of individual hairs. That my exact texture related problem of why I pull it. So now the question is how to get it to stop.

  10. You said it was a coping skill and I was trying not to pull my lashes and brows, so I thought of another coping skill of deep breaths and practiced those and I think it helped, at least short term, this time. Thank you.

  11. I just found out about it but what I have is trichotemnomania. I would believe they have the same origin, OCD or other issues, but there's not a lot of information about it.

  12. Hi Kati. I have dealt with Trich for a long time I am 26 now and i still struggle. But I recently shaved my head to try and restart. It helps me. I also wear wigs and hats. But I know it is hard to deal with but people just have ways to cope with their own lives. I had a bad child hood so it s my reason and I have really bad Anxiety. But I think we all can get past those things in way or another.

  13. Trich is its own disorder, definitely not caused by some other mental health issue. It is (now) classified as a Body Focused Repetitive Behavior, or BFRB

    It is often co-morbid with other disorders, but it is not just a symptom, like self-harm or ED behaviors.

    It will not go away simply because you get treatment for another illness, although it's possible some people went into temporary or lasting remission after receiving treatments for other issues

    It is a chronic, life-long illness. It does not have any cure. It does not have any confirmed treatments that are consistently effective.

    It is surprisingly common, and each day more and more people learn that their behavior is a real disorder and they are not alone. It is currently being researched by an amazing non-profit called TLC, who work with doctors and scientists from around the world. Although you might need to try several methods, you will most likely find some sort of treatment (NAC supplements, SCAMP intervention, CBT, HabitAware) that can help.

    You're not alone!!! <3

  14. Me and my mom suffer from this disorder, she started the pulling at young age and I started when I was in 8th grade… its really bad because our whole family dynamic is very stressful. The only way we cope is eating sunflower seeds or any other small produce to keep us distracted. Maybe we need therapy.

  15. Hearing that trich is a copying mechanism instead of the main problem suddenly becamea major game changer towards solving this issue. I've dealt with trich on an off since kindergarten and I'm almost 20!

  16. This is so unhelpful for me because mine appears to be more ocd than impulsive and it stems from when I was picking mascara clumps and accidentally pulled out too many and I was left with a gap that after a few days drove me insane so to ‘even out’ the lashes I would pull them out. 6 years later thats still the case. I run my finger over my lashes and if theres an anomaly whether it’s a thick lash or a sharp one I have to pull it out but then I just keep going. It’s no childhood trauma or anything and I’m a very carefree stress-less person so it doesnt even seem likely that it’s stress related. It’s just frustrating when I hear ‘go to a therapist and find out why you do it’ because I know fully why I do it, I just can’t work out how to stop.

  17. I have had this since 2009 when my parents got divorced and I pulled out my eyelashes. About 2015 In middle school I switched for some reason to my head, and as a 16 yo I am still struggling with it. Since I’ve been doing it for 10 years of my life it is such a habit and no pattern around it and SO hard to stop, and still haven’t been able to.

  18. For me, like you said, paying attention and knowing what triggers it is important. My anxiety is a big component. When it was REALLY bad at like 15 (I'm 21 now) I needed distraction from it. I either wore a hat to create a barrier in between, played with fidgety toys like spinny rings and tangles, and even sat on my hands when it became impossible to stop. I'd find myself in class holding my head up with my hand then ripping out half my hair. It got so hard for me, so at 16 I shaved my whole head because tbh it was pretty much there already. I think the best comparison to make people understand has been that it's like biting your nails. Also, advice for teachers and parents: don't draw attention to the hair pulling by saying "Stop pulling!" just distract from it by tapping their hand or shoulder and asking "How are you doing?" Just getting me out of the trance was sufficient enough. I still pull a bit today, but not NEARLY as much as when I was 14. My hair is the longest and healthiest its been in forever!

  19. I never considered my eyelash pulling was something that had a name and other people did but I'm not sure still if my habit is Trichollomania???
    What I am sure about is once I START I spend hours doing it and it even driving I get fixated and I even once I'm aware that I'm now in the "locked in zone" (i call it this because Its only when I begin to get frustrated by the hinderance it causes thru slowing down my progress(1 hand is busy with lash) (1 eye has it's line of sight blocked) (And being stationery is important so I avoid getting poked in my eye) in what ever activity chore or task I'm doing and at the length of time it is taking to get "satisfaction" from a particular "feelibg" of "I got it" )
    The reward is not plucking the hair out (THIS IS GOING TO SOUND REVOLTING I'M SORRY I DON'T HAVE ANY OTHER WAY TO DESCRIBE IT AND I HAVE NEVER HAD TO BEFORE Even I am revoulted)) but by pulling on them to find the stringy eye WASTE that stretches when being pulled out and along the lashes tips it gives a unexplainable feeling of satisfaction and defeat
    Wich is becoming so rare that is when i want more and im alnost convined i will find it 😑as I very rarely now get that in my eye even more less likely the longer it takes the point when I realise I have started pulling and what I describe as "fishing" is when I'm getting frustrated at not getting the feeling of satisfaction I seek
    I don't pluck my lashes out but I have on a few occasions pulled to hard and without intent pulled out that did give me an instant ability to stop I have caused my eye lid to become slightly dipped from fishing to close to the eyelid I even just inside my lids
    People get distracted and in a conversation with with my partner I have not even noticed my pulling as we have talked and that is very unattractive to watch much less when expecting someone's attention
    (Like picking a nose would be I suppose)
    I do have areas my lashes are sparse they are short and stumpy lashes and I wonder now if I caused this as I have always pulled for the "eye string"

  20. I am 13 iv nearly had this for 3 years it went away after a while then came back I don’t know why it started I guess I was board I’m so happy I’m not alone

  21. It’s gotten to a point that I’m happy when I do it but the outcome makes me feel angry I don’t self harm and I don’t have an eating disorder I don’t stress about anything major can someone explain

  22. Try out caster oil it tends to make it grow back faster and makes it slippery and hard to pull give it a go let me know what you think

  23. My best friend has this… I'm trying to find imformation I want to help her is affecting her life, just want to see her happy, thank you for this video…

  24. I have been pulling my hair out since I was a teenager I am 45 years old now still pulling in therapy now and many times cant stop only time I have stop for long period of time I was on a benzodiazepine but my doctors do not want to give me for long term now . I cant stop pulling now shave my head wear hats that doesn't hide missing eyebrows. Please help I want to stop I pull until I am digging in my head tend to like to do the same spots

  25. I'm new to your channel, and as someone who is interested in psychology, sociology etc, I am in love with your channel 🙂

  26. I feel like I have this but it's not pulling hair out, its more picking at my scalp and scraping at my scalp. I think about it for hours and do it instead of things I should be doing. I do it without realizing all the time and I cant stop. I'm scared to bring it up to my therapist because I'm ashamed of it

  27. This is a recent thing, ever since I moved into my own apartment. I only pull on my hair when I’m alone. I don’t pull hard enough to pull it out, but it sticks straight up now, everyone thinks it’s a fabulous style, but I know differently! I thought about it, and I started to remember that my father used to do it after dinner until he fell asleep in the chair, every night during the week.

  28. im still struggling. i notice that i only do it with my left hand so i try to keep that hand busy with a stress ball or a pen. its hard. i

  29. I got it because i got mixed up with a married man. We fell in love but i knew it was wrong. The guilt has shamed me ever since. What do i do?

  30. I'm currently 13 and I've had trichotillomania as long as I can remember, I rarely got comments on my hair besides "why do you have bald spots?" Or "do you have cancer?". As a kid, these didn't bother me really, I don't have bald spots anymore but I still pull sometimes(what bothered me was being mistaken for a boy). I remember my school counselor that really helped me told me to do stuff like counting how many hairs I pulled when I did or to get a Barbie so I could pull it's hair, stuff like that.

    I mean the Barbie didn't help me personally because I pull because I like how the hair feels when I roll it into a ball, and Barbie hair doesn't have the same effect. But still-

  31. i recently noticed that i’ve been pulling a lot of my dead strands of hairs on my head and my eyelashes . nothing traumatic has ever happened to me and idk why i’ve started . i think i have trichitillomania but i’m scared as to how i look because my eyelashes are for the most part gone , and idk how to tell my mom .

  32. I doing this from 5th grade until now, i even eat it, dont know why i cant stop doing this.. i've cut my hair until 5cm and its not only once, if my parents saw me pulling my hair they will angry with me but now maybe they're already tired of me and they do nothing.. actually i want to stop but the urge of pulling my own hair is soo intense so i cant stop

  33. Do I slightly have it? I always pull out my eyelashes but not ALL of them. I’m always pulling hair from my body too but again not to the point where I get bald cause I end up noticing that I’m doing it, it’s like I wake up from a mini blackout

  34. I've been picking my hair since 1-2 years ago and still do. I thought it was just me. I hv small bald area on my head and feel ashamed of it. I tried to stop but doing it again. I just cant help it. And it hit me hard when you say it might be caused of something else such as depression etc . Now I know why I'm the only one doing that among my friends and ppl around me. Thank you for making this video. 💖

  35. I noticed that my trich is the worst when I'm studying. Which is very bad cause I'm studying all the time. My mcat is in 9 days so I've been studying none stop for days now, and I got a bald patch now, which makes me so sad cause I never had one before. I am trying to use this technique where I pull on scotch tape and then play with the tape, we'll see if it works.

  36. i used to have VERY thick hair and now it's so thin and literally i regret having this but i can't stop 😔

  37. I'm already losing a lot of hair due to chemo medication but I still can't stop my trichotillomania which I've had for years. I do it without noticing and when I notice and force myself to stop, then I start biting the skin around my nails, again without noticing. Once I force myself to stop that, then I start biting into my lips… This is a never ending cycle and I'm so tired of it. I've never had any treatment for it and now I'm thinking I should've had it early on.

  38. I had this frikin curse 4 52 yrs, and ready to throw in the towel, but i won't go to Heaven if I do, so, when I feel great Trichtilomania gets me in my sleep then when i wake i turn into gorrafobic over night for 4 to 5 days, I start feeling better then it gets n my sleep again and it's driving me CRAZY… can u help Me plz…?

  39. As far as I know I don’t have any kind of anxiety, OCD or depression but I do pull my hair out mostly my eyebrows and eyelashes. I’ve been doing it since I was 13 so it’s been a bit over 5 years now. I would sometimes do it and then not do it for a while and then get back into it again and it’s really frustrating. I recently started doing it more and it became noticeable. I don’t even understand why I’m doing this myself so explaining it to others is even more confusing. I always feel guilty and selfish whenever I get confronted about it, part of my subconscious is pretty self critical about this and I kind of guilt trip myself saying things like “what a first world problem” or “people are dying and suffering around the world, what kind of pathetic stress do you have to do something like this” part of the reason as to why I even do it is more on the feeling of my eyebrows, parts of physical eyebrows would hurt or itch like the hairs were knotted and pulling on my skin and just to relieve myself I need to pluck that pain out. Weird course or abnormal feeling hairs would be the most susceptible to the plucking. I haven’t really seen anyone about this so I don’t know if this would necessarily be called Trich but just thought I’d share this

  40. I have this I feel a need to pull or cut if I see split end especially because of the repetitive motion I have damaged my hand 🙁

  41. I have this, I pull the hairs out of my beard/moustache though. I hate it and wish I could stop but I can't, I often have bald patches until it grows back.

    It's embarrassing when people inadvertently see me doing it like when I'm at work for instance, at my last job everyone thought I was nuts because of it.

    Sometimes I'll trim it back so there's not enough to pull, this does stop me for a couple of weeks but then as soon as it's long enough I start again. It's like a cycle I can't break.

  42. i pull my eyebrows to the point of non-existence sometimes. im in high school and its super embarrassing but THANKFULLY drawing in your eyebrows is a makeup trend right now and im able to cover up. i get so scared when people mention eyebrows around me tho. if i dont put on my makeup in the morning, my family will even shame and guilt me for it which makes me cry sometimes, its not like i want this to happen to me. the only person that isn't rude about it is my boyfriend, he even said he'd do the same to himself to make me feel less alone in it, which i think is really sweet, but i wont let him do that because it would probably draw more attention to the subject in school.
    honestly, im not sure why i do it, yeah i have anxiety but i mostly pluck when im half asleep, thinking, or watching a video. i think it might just be the sensation my subconscious enjoys, because it dose feel pretty nice like a massage on the face. but as soon as i catch myself i panic a lot because i know what i did was terrible for my image. sometimes im scared it'll never grow back. at the rate i pluck, i wouldn't be surprised.

  43. I pull out coarse wiry hairs because I don't like them, I don't think there is any emotional issue attached to it, if my hair was a normal texture I would have no desire to do this whatsoever. Is this still trichotillomania?

  44. Realized I'm more messed up than I thought. I pull my hair so much during my 3 hr exams I don't even know when I'm doing it. It is the only thing that calms me.

  45. i would grow out long lashes then as soon as i get stressed out they are all gone it’s not that i want to it’s just a way to get rid of stress

  46. i do this but i don’t do it on my head or eyelashes i do it on my legs and arms and sometimes eyebrows.

  47. Been doing it 30 Something years can't stop I'm not bald as I was when young but now I pull and twirl and make spiders and harrasment to people telling them I have a spider 😁

  48. Sitting on the beach just now, I started pulling hair out & it hit me – I've been waking myself up at night for about a year or so, pulling hair out.
    I thought – thats gotta mean something so a quick Google search pulled up this term.
    I have enough maladptive stigmas I'm labeled with, so I won't be confessing this to anyone – to spare myself more judgment & unsolicited, condescending advice – which is probably the cause of it anyway.

  49. Katie, you're such a beautiful human being inside and out… I wish I could have talked to you when I was battling my addiction. I got through it, and I'm 5+ years clean, and I'm never going back, but dam it would have help to have someone like you to talk to while I was battling. I went to a psychiatrist, gave him the benefit of doubt, but he continued to be so cold, and uncaring. It through me off, I was a number, or a problem to solve, not a person. He told me he became a physiologist because he was fascinated by the human mind, not because of a purpose to help others. You gotta admit there's some horrible psychologist/psychiatrists out there. You've probably heard horror stories.

  50. I'm not sure if people are still commenting on this, but who would I see for help for this? Just an ordinary therapist? Or would there be a specialist? Thanks for the video, you are the only one whose actually helped, when you said "if this is something you struggle with and worried to talk about" I realised this is something I struggle with and need help with

  51. How many people who pull feel like they also have Autism? Even if you’re not diagnosed…. do you also have gut/other physical health issues?

  52. It's nice to hear that other people have this too. I've never met another person that had this in real life, but at least I'm not the only one.

  53. it’s gotten so bad that i’ve finally had to come out about it and shave my head. i’m now wearing wigs and my confidence is so much better!

  54. I feel so bad an guilty about it, I have been taking cognitive behavioral therapy but then I do it again. I will get marry soon, my fiance does not about it, I am already too problematic to add something else, it is making my life miserable. I dont know what else to do.

  55. Literally pulling while watching this :/ didn’t even notice until she said “start to realize when you’re doing it”

  56. I’ve had this for years and I don’t even feel pain went I pull my hair out, I’ve been actively trying to stop, it’s July and I’m constantly wearing a beanie it’s torcher in the heat but it’s helping me not do it I haven’t pulled my hair out in in three days and I have been actively trying to take better care of my hair with hair growth shampoo which is also helping I’m turning my attention to taking care of my hair rather than my urge to pull my hair out.

  57. Hello I have trichotillomania I have a bald spot on my head 3 in in like 4 in in width and 5 in LongI always get made fun of for it and I don't understand why I do it but I do but I have noticed one thing that helps is CBD or hemp

  58. i have a lot of anxiety/stress when i try to not pull my hair. my dad noticed that i play with my hair alot but he doesn't know i'm plucking it aswell, i'm super ashamed of it

  59. You should talk about how horror movies are shaming people with these conditions by having the people reveal their patched hair in a “scary scene” or show them pulling

  60. Thank You for being the one you tuber or person that recognizes it every short film is about more popular forms of self harm not hair pulling and even if there is there might be 12 people that watch it thank! I suffer from a more rarer case of trichotilomania that not many people know of

  61. I have an issue with pulling my hair. I have combination hair. Straight kinda thick from my dad. And my mom has frizzy and curly wavey hair and idk why but .. I like to play with my hair and pull out the curly frizzy ones…..

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