Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling)

In DSM V trichotillomania is described as a phenomenon of recurrent pulling out of one's own hair which involves noticeable hair loss. Hair pulling may occur in any region of the body in which hair grows but the most common sites are the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelids. Sites of hair pulling may vary over time.


It is estimated that 1%-2% of adults and adolescents suffer from trichotillomania. Females are more frequently affected than males, at a ratio of approximately 10:1. The age of onset is generally during puberty or later. Tic disorders are classified in three broad categories:
Symptoms
Recurrent pulling out of one’s hair resulting in noticeable hair loss.
Mounting tension immediately before pulling out the hair or when resisting the behavior.
Pleasure, gratification, or relief when pulling out the hair.
The disturbance is not accounted for by another mental disorder and is not due to a general medical condition (i.e., dermatological condition- inflammation of the skin) or in response to a delusion or hallucination.
Repeated attempt to decrease or stop hair pulling .
the hair pulling causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The hair pulling is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., attempts to improve a perceived defect or flaw in appearance in body dysmorphic disorder).
Causes
There is no certain cause of trichotillomania, but the current way of looking at trichotillomania is as a medical illness. Trichotillomania is on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum, which means that it shares many symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), such as compulsive counting, checking, or washing. Depression also frequently occurs in individuals with this illness, along with excoriation (skin-picking) disorder. Other body-focused repetitive behaviors, such as nail biting, thumb sucking, head banging, or compulsive scratching are also common.


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