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Trichotillomania

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Yay, fellow trichsters!! :smilingteeth: My trichotillomania is really bad at the moment. I'm under an unbelievable amount of stress, and it doesn't help that it is getting obvious that I'm pulling my hair out. (BTW, I pull out the hair on my head almost exclusively.)

It brings me a great deal of comfort to know I'm not the only one. I thought I was a freak for years. I started when I was nine, and have done it off and on since then. I'm now 40.

I notice there isn't a lot of traffic in this thread, but it's okay. It feels good to get this out there into cyberspace. :hearthrob:

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Yay, fellow trichsters!! :smilingteeth: My trichotillomania is really bad at the moment. I'm under an unbelievable amount of stress, and it doesn't help that it is getting obvious that I'm pulling my hair out. (BTW, I pull out the hair on my head almost exclusively.)

It brings me a great deal of comfort to know I'm not the only one. I thought I was a freak for years. I started when I was nine, and have done it off and on since then. I'm now 40.

I notice there isn't a lot of traffic in this thread, but it's okay. It feels good to get this out there into cyberspace. :hearthrob:

Hello Needa New Brain! Welcome :)

You're not alone at all, there are many many people (and users here!) who suffer from Trichotillomania, please feel free to talk about it as we really care to listen, tell me, are you treating those obsessive-compulsive tendencies?

r90

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Yay, fellow trichsters!! :smilingteeth: My trichotillomania is really bad at the moment. I'm under an unbelievable amount of stress, and it doesn't help that it is getting obvious that I'm pulling my hair out. (BTW, I pull out the hair on my head almost exclusively.)

It brings me a great deal of comfort to know I'm not the only one. I thought I was a freak for years. I started when I was nine, and have done it off and on since then. I'm now 40.

I notice there isn't a lot of traffic in this thread, but it's okay. It feels good to get this out there into cyberspace. :hearthrob:

Hello Needa New Brain! Welcome :)

You're not alone at all, there are many many people (and users here!) who suffer from Trichotillomania, please feel free to talk about it as we really care to listen, tell me, are you treating those obsessive-compulsive tendencies?

r90

Thank you so much for the welcome, r90.

Welllllllll, I'm seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist, but we're focusing more on my depression right now. I'm on Cymbalta, but I'm thinking that's not the best med for trich or OCD. In the past, I've been on every single SSRI, and I've been through CBT as well. Nothing really helps for too long, except for a stress-free environment. Believe it or not, I did have a stress-free environment for a very long time. Unfortunately, this is no longer true.

At any rate, I'm so happy to have you all to talk to. Thanks again! :smile:

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Yay, fellow trichsters!! :smilingteeth: My trichotillomania is really bad at the moment. I'm under an unbelievable amount of stress, and it doesn't help that it is getting obvious that I'm pulling my hair out. (BTW, I pull out the hair on my head almost exclusively.)

It brings me a great deal of comfort to know I'm not the only one. I thought I was a freak for years. I started when I was nine, and have done it off and on since then. I'm now 40.

I notice there isn't a lot of traffic in this thread, but it's okay. It feels good to get this out there into cyberspace. :hearthrob:

Hello Needa New Brain! Welcome :)

You're not alone at all, there are many many people (and users here!) who suffer from Trichotillomania, please feel free to talk about it as we really care to listen, tell me, are you treating those obsessive-compulsive tendencies?

r90

Thank you so much for the welcome, r90.

Welllllllll, I'm seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist, but we're focusing more on my depression right now. I'm on Cymbalta, but I'm thinking that's not the best med for trich or OCD. In the past, I've been on every single SSRI, and I've been through CBT as well. Nothing really helps for too long, except for a stress-free environment. Believe it or not, I did have a stress-free environment for a very long time. Unfortunately, this is no longer true.

At any rate, I'm so happy to have you all to talk to. Thanks again! :smile:

Oh no worries, it's my pleasure to both listen and support fellow sufferers!

I think that focusing on both depression and OCD at one time could be better, there are, of course, other treatment methods for treatment-resistant depression and OCD, have you ever discussed electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) with your pdoc?

I strongly agree with you about that stress-free environment, as there you get to peacefully face your negative emotions without any outside distraction, oh and besides, music and movies do greatly help!

Please keep posting here, it does help!

r90

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@ Needa New Brain:

I have trich, have since I was in preschool (and now I'm 39). I just started seeing a new psychiatrist, as I recently (ok, nine months ago) developed depression, and he told me that some rather large percentage (I forget the actual number) of people with OCD will also experience depression at some point. I am on Lexapro (30mg/day) which is helping a lot with the trich (less so with the depression, but they say it takes 6-12 weeks to start working and it's only been 5). So it's apparently common to have both OCD and depression (like a bonus for your OCD rolleyes.gif)

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I have trichotillomania, too. I've been pulling mostly from my head for almost 2 decades now (I'm 29). I used to think I was literally the ONLY person in the world that did this! I'm pretty relieved to know that I'm not. :smile: When I was in high school, I plucked a fairly large bald spot on the back of my head, but since that caused me so much distress (how to hide it, couldn't wear my hair down, etc), I now pull from all over, searching for the "right" (or in my mind, both right AND wrong) hairs. I don't have any real bald spots anymore, but I do have a whole lot of short or broken hairs all over my head! I definitely tend to do it much more when I'm anxious or stressed, leaving piles of hair by my bed or the couch. I have felt tremendous guilt and shame for such a long time about this, but recently I've just tried to look at it as an aspect of my OCD, which helps me to feel not as embarrassed/ashamed. I also bite the cuticles around my fingernails (quite badly!) as well! :-/ Obviously, that's a lot more difficult to hide.

I've been looking into this online quite a bit, and found that through a small double-blind clinical trial, doctors have discovered that when taking a large does (about 18 grams) of the supplement Inositol, the trich seems to improve quite a lot. I've recently starting taking about 1 gram of powdered Inositol a day, so hopefully that will help. I just thought I'd share this here, so maybe it can help anyone reading this. You can get Inositol from vitamin stores online.

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I have trichotillomania, too. I've been pulling mostly from my head for almost 2 decades now (I'm 29). I used to think I was literally the ONLY person in the world that did this! I'm pretty relieved to know that I'm not. :smile: When I was in high school, I plucked a fairly large bald spot on the back of my head, but since that caused me so much distress (how to hide it, couldn't wear my hair down, etc), I now pull from all over, searching for the "right" (or in my mind, both right AND wrong) hairs. I don't have any real bald spots anymore, but I do have a whole lot of short or broken hairs all over my head! I definitely tend to do it much more when I'm anxious or stressed, leaving piles of hair by my bed or the couch. I have felt tremendous guilt and shame for such a long time about this, but recently I've just tried to look at it as an aspect of my OCD, which helps me to feel not as embarrassed/ashamed. I also bite the cuticles around my fingernails (quite badly!) as well! :-/ Obviously, that's a lot more difficult to hide.

I've been looking into this online quite a bit, and found that through a small double-blind clinical trial, doctors have discovered that when taking a large does (about 18 grams) of the supplement Inositol, the trich seems to improve quite a lot. I've recently starting taking about 1 gram of powdered Inositol a day, so hopefully that will help. I just thought I'd share this here, so maybe it can help anyone reading this. You can get Inositol from vitamin stores online.

Hey Peace Seeking and thanks for posting!

I am sorry to hear your story with trichotillomania, it's tough I understand! But you are a survivor after all, so how is this vitamin doing to you? Did you consult any pdoc? Because your condition can be successfully treated with ADs and especially the SSRI ones, good luck and keep us updated on how things go!

r90

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Hey Peace Seeking and thanks for posting!

I am sorry to hear your story with trichotillomania, it's tough I understand! But you are a survivor after all, so how is this vitamin doing to you? Did you consult any pdoc? Because your condition can be successfully treated with ADs and especially the SSRI ones, good luck and keep us updated on how things go!

r90

Thanks, r90! I've only been taking the Inositol for about 2 weeks, and honestly I'm not sure how much it is helping... I also only just recently began seeing a pdoc (around the same time as starting the Inositol) and I'm currently at the end of my second week of a very low dose of Zoloft (25 mg, once a day) plus Xanax (1/5 of a .25 once or twice a day). I asked my pdoc if I could try the Inositol and he didn't see any problem with it and asked me to keep him posted on my success, if any. I'm still pulling when stressed or bored, although instead of pulling all day, I've begun to really only pull in the evening/at night, so maybe one of these things is helping a little. :smile:

Has anyone here had any success with Zoloft in treating trich? What are the common medications used for this? I know my pdoc is most likely planning on increasing my dose to treat my OCD (he said he would be surprised if I responded to such a low dose of Zoloft), but will that also help with the trich?

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I've been dealing with trich since I was 15. First it started with cutting my eyelashes, and it eventually grew to pulling. It reached overload just before my mom died in December. I now try to find lashes to pull every day. I first was using my fingers, but now use tweezers. But as I can't take my tweezers and mirror everywhere, I at times still resort to using my fingers blindly pulling...which has resulted in picking until I bleed. I just don't know how to stop.

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I'm not sure this is the same as what you guys are going thru, but I recently started pulling out my hair too. At first it was just to get rid of a particular patch of hair and split-ends that curls into my eyes and that hair-cutters always miss when they cut my hair. For some reason pulling the hair out sounded better than cutting it to me that first time. Now I keep doing it if they even start turning towards my eyes. They stand more of a chance not being pulled out if they don't curl into my eyes too much or if they stay out if I brush them back. I pull out clumps at once (from underneath), but my hair's so thick right now that you wouldn't notice. I only pull out the hair on the sides of my face (esp. the left side) and sometimes around my ears. And sometimes around a spot that's started growing as a widow's peak. I kinda remember doing something similar during my last depressive episode in middle school, except the hair around my ears were the only ones to fall victim and I did it only after I got a haircut. Go figure.

I think I do it for the same reason some girls cut themselves when they have depression. The slight pain makes you feel better and helps distract you from your emotional turmoil. I don't like pain, so I found an alternative that didn't hurt as much. Still sad on my part. :(

I'm sorry if my problem undermines what you guys are going thru. I don't think what I have is true trichotillomania, so I can only somewhat relate. Regardless, you guys have my sympathy. I hope everyone finds something that helps them with this.

I don't know if this happens to you guys or not, but does the hair you pull out grow back in a different colour? Some of the hair around the spots I pull at sometimes grow back gray or white. They haven't yet at the moment though... maybe because I've left them alone for a couple of weeks. :/ Just wondering.

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I sort of wish this thread was more active.

I'm not at the point where I have actually gone back to the same therapist more than once... I've made three or four attempts now at starting to see someone, but I never actually consistently go to therapy. But this attempt (I'm in the intake stage at my college counseling center, so they do two intake meetings before setting you up with a normal day and time with someone who's free when you are) I told the intake counselor that I pull my hair, and I've never done that before. Do any of you have a lot of trouble talking about it? I feel like I expect my boyfriend and my best friend to be understanding of my depression to a point, but to talk to them about this would be too uncomfortable. I don't pull from anywhere difficult to talk about either, I pretty much exclusively pull from my scalp... I don't know. Hopefully I will settle with a therapist who I can comfortably talk to about it.

I know for a lot of people it seems to be stress related... I don't really think it is for me, or if so I haven't really noticed. I have noticed that it is worse when I take dyphenhydramine for sleep, if once I get sleepy I do not go to bed very quickly I pull a lot. Aside from that I think I pull pretty consistently.

As far as coping mechanisms, when I was little they told me to try to keep my hands busy. Things like playing with a kush ball or knitting, something to keep your hands our of your hair. This works in some situations for me (I don't knit, but if I am very busy with my hands for some reason it can distract me for a time) but there is always downtime...

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Well because of this I finally get to start seeing a therapist again... I start Oct 4th.... I never realized it before I started doing some research that I skin pick too.

Funchas, Your in denial babe your just like the rest of us in this thread. So your amongst friends

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Not sure how I feel about dealing with this issue. I think it is probably a bit like self harm in that you have to be ready to stop, you have to really want to. I don't think I'm ready to tackle this one. :whatsthat: I want to get more comfortable with it, to a point where should I feel ready to deal with it I would be able to talk to a therapist about it, but actually stopping is something I just can't wrap my mind around.

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I have no idea when I first started pulling, but it must've been around puberty. (I'm 23 now.) I've been plauged by depression and anxiety for the past few years, but unlike most other posters, those two illnesses haven't really played a part in my tric. The only reason I've ever pulled is because it physically feels good, and not in a "pleasure from pain" type of way. Whenever I pull out a strand I get this weird sensation of tingly goodness in my skin. I don't even necessarily have to pull to feel it. I can just run a finger over the skin and it'll still feel great, but in order to feel it full strength I have to pull my hair out from the root. Without the root it's pointless. This sensation dictates when and from where I can pull. For instance, I always feel it at the ends of my eyebrows, which means I can pull from there so long as there's hair. In fact, I'm constantly pulling or tugging at my eyebrows. It's mostly an unconscious thing. On the flip side, I can't always pull from my head. When I CAN pull from my scalp it's usually at the crown, but the sensation isn't there at the moment, so if I tried to pull right now it wouldn't feel too good. I don't know what causes the sensation to come and go, but without it I don't have the urge to pull.

Once I do pull a strand out, I like to run the root across my top lip for some reason. If I break off a strand without getting the root I have to go back until I get it. Simply stopping isn't an option. I also like to seperate the hard part at the end of the root from the actual hair.

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Careful with running the hairs over your lips. A lot of people move from just pulling to pulling and eating the hair, and from my reading running it over your lips is something that can be an in between. Its awkward enough to be the kid who pulls her hair out all the time, its worse to have the compulsion to eat it when you're in public :lookaround:

I don't associate it with anxiety or depression either, for what its worth. I don't really get a satisfying feeling either though. I just need to do it, and really can't imagine stopping. I almost exclusively pull from the scalp though. I used to almost only pull around the part but I pull from all over now. I favor the thicker or kinky ones, but if I can't find them I still pull.

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I have it. Eyebrows and eyelashes.

I started about....6-7 years ago. I guess I was a late bloomer. I'm sure I started due to anxiety, but just pulling causes me more anxiety. It's a viscious cycle. I'm super embarassed by it. Visiting family and staying over at their house(s) stresses me out because I don't want them to see me without make-up on, so I have to be super secretive and hope that they won't see me on my way to the bathroom in the morning. I hate it.

I have been fortunate enough to have a supportive family, and I've never gotten the "Why don't you just stop?" comments. I haven't really found anything that prevents me from doing it. Anti-depressants don't help with it. I've tried wearing gloves, acrylic nails, etc. and nothing stops it. I wish there was a magic pill to stop it. :verysad3:

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I have it. Eyebrows and eyelashes.

I started about....6-7 years ago. I guess I was a late bloomer. I'm sure I started due to anxiety, but just pulling causes me more anxiety. It's a viscious cycle. I'm super embarassed by it.

Me too, mostly eyebrows though and mine only started about a year ago; it started out as stress-related but I do it all the time now :( I never leave my house without my eyebrows penciled in! My fiancé said the he notices if I'm not pulling at my eyebrows, I'm still always touching or rubbing my face...like I'm looking for something to pull :(

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I have it. Eyebrows and eyelashes.

I started about....6-7 years ago. I guess I was a late bloomer. I'm sure I started due to anxiety, but just pulling causes me more anxiety. It's a viscious cycle. I'm super embarassed by it.

Me too, mostly eyebrows though and mine only started about a year ago; it started out as stress-related but I do it all the time now :( I never leave my house without my eyebrows penciled in! My fiancé said the he notices if I'm not pulling at my eyebrows, I'm still always touching or rubbing my face...like I'm looking for something to pull :(

Hi hmhbn4!

It's amazing how many people have this disorder. I think you're lucky that your scalp isn't affected as well. In addition, you're very lucky to be opened like that about it with your fiance. Sharing and opening up to others can go a long way.

In addition, I don't know whether you tried something to treat it or not, here's a useful read about all possible treatment methods for trichotillomania to date, can be handy for anyone who's affected.

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I have had trichotillomania for about a year and a half. My dad gets so mad at me when he sees all my eyelashes missing. He yells and screams and tells me I am crazy for harming myself. He thinks this counts as self-mutilation. Like, aren't there worse things I can do? Ugh...

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i know this is an old thread but has anyone found a cure for their trichotillomania? 

 

i first began pulling hair from my scalp, by the roots, when i was about 11 years old, i'm now 45 and still do it

 

i'm a male, and as i've gotten older my hair has also naturally begun to recede and thin a bit, so i found that if i go to a barber and have a short hair cut, number two usually, and try to keep my hair "shaved" like that much of the time, i tend to stop pulling, as it's not as "enjoyable" or easy to pluck very short hairs than it is when they're longer

 

i've recently let my hair go a bit, and haven't had it done for a few months, and sure enough, i've been pulling it out like crazy

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I don't have that.  I don't have it.  Except.... hmm.  why are my eyebrows slowly disappearing....?....

 

But that's the only thing I pull at.  Does that count?

 

My mother.... had tattooed eyebrows.  She'd plucked them gone, forever.

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hey guys mine started when I was 13 in high school.

 

do you guys do it around other people? i only do it when i am alone. it calms me down. that is why i considered maybe starting to smoke, maybe it will help. a long time ago when i took lexapro and it worked for my anxiety (like 10 years ago) it stopped the hair pulling but now that I have not found anything to help with anxiety, I do it, and it is annoying. Sometimes when I take Ativan it makes me drowsy, but it stops my urges of pulling hair.

 

What strategies have you guys used besides medication to help you stop hair pulling? if it has helped.

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I started pulling out my eyelashes seven years ago. Eventually I swapped that for my hair. My eyelashes have mostly grown back, they are nowhere near as long and curly as before though-I'm just grateful they came back. I feel around my scalp for hairs that feel coarse or curly or have split ends and I can pull for hours. I don't pull from one location so I have a lot of thinning but no bald patches. Sometimes I am aware I'm doing it, other times i don't even notice. Recently I've also started over plucking my eyebrows and I'm trying to not let that get out of control, but the more anxiety I feel the more I pull. I've tried wearing a hat when I'm at home, or a scarf around my head but usually the only times I don't pull are when my hair is wet. It's a vicious circle- I pull the hairs that feel coarse and "bad" but then where I pull the hair grows back with a coarser texture which continues the pulling cycle. It was the same with eyelashes. My eyes would get so itchy when my lashes were trying to come back which caused me to pull out my lashes to ease the itch. The thing that made me stop pulling my lashes was constant use of eye drops to ease the itchy feeling and pulling my hair out instead. I wish I could figure out a way to stop before I end up with bald patches.

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