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Trichotillomania (also known as Hair Pulling disorder) is characterized by compulsively and repetitively pulling out one’s hair. This condition is part of a group of self-grooming behaviors called Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) that result in damage to one’s own body. Though childhood cases occur equally in boys and girls, by adulthood, 80-90 percent of cases reported are women. Symptoms include repetitive pulling out of hair leading to noticeable hair loss, pleasure or gratification after pulling out hair and tension when resisting the behavior, repeated attempts to stop the behavior and social embarrassment or shame because of the behavior resulting in avoidance of public situations. This condition is categorized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as an “obsessive-compulsive and related disorder.” It is important to note trichotillomania may be a symptom of another psychiatric condition and it is not helpful to hear “just stop doing it.”

Information provided by our partners TLC Foundation for BFRBs and Mental Health America.

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