While many men and women suffer from hereditary hair loss, there is a small number of the people who have an obsessive urge to pull out their own hair. The condition is called trichotillomania, which affects 4 out of every 100 people. The problem is often an embarrassing one, which leads to noticeable bald patches.
What triggers the condition?
There is no definitive cause for this condition, but most people suffer from an underlying stress-related or anxiety disorder. Stressors can make the condition worse. For instance, an upcoming test or financial problems could exacerbate the problem.
People with this condition often do it absentmindedly. For example, they might pull out strands of hair while watching television. It becomes a habit, like second nature.
What are the side effects?
The most obvious problem with the condition is visible hair loss. Most of the time, hair is pulled out faster than it can grow in, so there is visible evidence of the condition. Many people are embarrassed about it and as a result, tend to stray away from social activities.
According to Health.com, there are other side effects. One study suggests about 20% of trichotillomania patients tend to avoid vacations, 23% find the habit interfering with their job duties, and 24% children tend to miss school often.
What’s the treatment?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment for this condition. Many people opt for a combination of therapies that can alter or correct these kinds of behaviors. For some, counseling is helpful to get at the root of the stress or anxiety.
Unlike men with male pattern baldness, who can take a medication like Propecia to help regrow hair, this kind of treatment isn’t helpful for men with trichotillomania because they don’t have a problem growing hair. If the condition is revered through therapies, hair should regrow in time provided there isn’t too much damage to hair follicles.
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