Is Trichotillomania an Anxiety Disorder? Causes & Treatment


Do you have an irresistible urge to pluck out hair from the eyebrows, eyelashes, or even the scalp? Even when you know that such an action will cause pain and damage, you unintentionally do it.

Pulling out hair may or may not be due to anxiety– Click below to book a consultation with a mental health expert and know more about it.

In most cases, this happens when you are under some form of pressure. If the above scenario describes you perfectly, you are suffering from trichotillomania, a condition that is also referred to as “hair-pulling disorder.” 

If you are having questions such as Is trichotillomania an anxiety disorder? Does trichotillomania ever go away, or is trichotillomania a form of OCD? You are not alone. Many people suffering from this mental condition have such concerns.

Read on to learn more about this condition, including its causes and the available treatment options. 

What Is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a mental condition that falls under the class of obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. This disorder’s primary characteristic is the inability to stop pulling hair from all the hairy parts of the body, including the eyelids, eyebrows, and scalp. 

If you continuously pull hair from your face, you end up with patches of lost hair. Additionally, the hair-pulling process and the subsequent results can leave you distressed and also may interfere with your occupational and social functioning. 

Symptoms of Trichotillomania

3 Symptoms of Trichotillomania

What Causes Trichotillomania?

What causes trichotillomania remains unknown. The causes of this disorder may be linked to environmental factors and genetic factors.

However, there is a significant link between this disorder and the substantial changes in your brain’s pathways regarding the management of emotions, impulses control, and your habits and movements. 

The common risk factors for trichotillomania include:

  • Age

Usually, you will start showing signs and symptoms of this disorder when you are around 10 and 13 years of age. However, the condition may grow with you into adulthood with the symptoms fluctuating.

  • Generic Factors

Is trichotillomania hereditary? In some cases, trichotillomania may be a result of genes. You can inherit this condition from a member of your family tree. 

  • Stress

You may develop this mental disorder if you are exposed to extremely stressful situations such as the death of someone close to you, abuse, or family conflict.

  • Other Mental Disorders

If you have other mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, the chances are high that such disorders can trigger trichotillomania. 

Diagnosing Trichotillomania

Various symptoms inform the diagnosis of trichotillomania, the main one being the consistent pulling of hair. 

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Other signs and symptoms that can help your doctor determine whether you have trichotillomania include: 

  • Noticeable hair loss
  • Feeling relieved after plucking your hair
  • Eating, chewing, biting the pulled hair
  • An increased tension before pulling the hair
  • Distressed
  • Social and occupation impairment
  • Failed attempts to avoid pulling hair

Treatment of Trichotillomania

Treating trichotillomania involves a complex process. It is advisable to have enough time and be ready to practice and adhere to the treatment options’ requirements.

While you may try coping strategies in the initial stages, it is advisable to avoid getting discouraged if the symptoms persist. 

Here are some of the common treatment options you can try in case you are suffering from trichotillomania. 

  • Habit Reversal

Habit reversal is considered the basic treatment option for trichotillomania. This treatment option aims to help you detect when you are about to pull out your hair. 

Besides knowing the scenarios leading to plucking out of hair, the habit reversal treatment helps you learn how to embrace distractions to avoid pulling out your hair. 

Set alerts or keep a journal to help you can become more aware of triggers. Some of the strategies you can adopt when you feel the urge to pull hair is to clench your fists or snap an elastic band on your wrist. 

  • Relaxation Training 

Usually, you will be more likely to pull out your hair if you are stressed. Learning how to cope with stress can help you avoid pulling out your hair.

With relaxation training, you learn how to control your nervous systems to remain calm even when triggered by stressful events. 

Risk Factors of Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania: Risk Factors

  • Process-Oriented Therapy

Another way to deal with this disorder is by understanding your triggers and the motive behind the pulling of hair. With such an understanding, it becomes easy to learn to manage the triggers and overcome certain emotions that could lead to you pulling hair.

Thus, process-oriented therapy helps you explore your motivations and establishes the best ways to control your emotions.  

  • Self-Awareness Training

Can you account for your hair pulling patterns? If you can trace the events leading to hair pulling, it can be easy to learn how to avoid the associated triggers. 

Self-awareness training is effective in helping you know these patterns. The training enables you to track when you pull the hair and details emotions or any other factors surrounding the hair-pulling process. 

  • Family and Group Therapy

Notably, trichotillomania can have an adverse impact on your social life, and in most cases, push you to isolation. Your trichotillomania condition is more likely to worsen if you lack support and care from your friends and family members. 

It is advisable to go for family and group therapy to help you stay connected with others and avoid the feeling of isolation. Additionally, such treatment is significant because it allows the people around you to know how to respond and manage the symptoms. 

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Get Professional Help

Trichotillomania is a serious mental disorder that can lead to adverse health issues and significant consequences on your occupational and social functioning. 

If you notice that you cannot help pulling out your hair, it is advisable to seek professional help as fast as possible. Even though trichotillomania may never go away, the right therapy and training can help you learn how to manage the symptoms, detect triggers, and respond to the urge to pull your hair. 

While you may try to manage the condition on your own, it is recommendable to engage an expert. Get in touch with EZCare Clinic for trichotillomania diagnosis and therapy.

The team at EZCare Clinic is experienced in all manner of emotional support and will offer you all the help and treatment you need to deal with your condition. Book your appointment with our mental health expert. 


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