If you are someone who pull their eyelashes or eyebrows out from the roots you may be suffering from Trichotillomania which is a type of compulsive behaviour that is difficult to stop without help. Trichotillomania means self-induced loss of hair.
People with Trichotillomania also pull hair out from other places such as eyebrows, nose hair, scalp or pubic area although generally it’s confined to one or two areas.
It sometimes, but not always, begins in childhood, even in infants, and is often accompanied by nail biting or skin picking. It can even be genetic and run in families.
Causes of Trichotillomania
The causes are basically unknown but the medical profession believes that it may be connected to obsessive-compulsive disorder as both OCD and Trichotillomania both involve repetitive behaviour.
It may be caused by stress or depression.
Itching or tingling which can only be relieved by pulling the hair out. This becomes habitual and harder to stop.
Compulsive behaviour can sometimes be caused by an imbalance in the brain when something interferes with neurotransmitters which are a type of brain chemical. It could possibly be genetic.
Sometimes eating certain foods can trigger hair pulling urges, notably alcohol, sugar and / or caffeine.
- Noticeable hair loss which in extreme cases can be permanent
- Feelings of shame
- Low self esteem
- Possible infection at the site of the hair pulling
Treatment for Trichotillomania
- Young children often grow out of it, but for older people therapy can help by giving special behaviour techniques that will help the patient identify the trigger which makes them pull the hairs and learn how to control the urge by redirecting the impulse.
- Sometimes medication can be given which will help resist the urge.
- Hypnotherapy has been used as a very successful treatment for years.
- Keep busy – There is an element of truth in this old saying – ‘The devil finds work for idle hands’. The busier you keep your hands the less time you will have for pulling out hair. In other words occupying your mind with jobs that involve hand movement can detract your mind from any urge to pull out your lashes.
- Try to eliminate certain foods from your diet for a period of 3 months before introducing them back. Keep notes of any changes.
People who suffer with this distressing ailment can find more information and help from support groups and the Internet.