Trichotillomania

Synonyms: Compulsive hair pulling

Medical Specialties: Dermatology, Family practice, Psychiatry


Clinical Definition

Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that may present as alopecia with an irregular pattern. Typically affecting the scalp, it can also be evident on the eyebrows and eyelashes. Depression, anxiety and behaviors such as nail biting and skin-picking may co-exist. Diagnosis is based on clinical findings and patient input. Etiology is largely unknown. In pediatric patients the condition may be transient. For others, antidepressants or psychotherapy are options.


In Our Own Words

Trichotillomania, an impulse control disorder, is the compulsive pulling out of hair. The cause is not known, but those affected report they have an urge to pull out their own hair repeatedly. They often do so with hair on the scalp, but some also pull out eyelashes, nose hairs, eyebrows and hair from other parts of the body.

 

The diagnosis is made after a physician observes the patient and asks for input on the hair loss. Treatments include psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. 

Side Effects
  • Hair loss
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