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Cause of Trichotillomania; Woman Pulling Hair

Abstract: The pain of pulling out hair stimulates the lust center of the brain. Treatment is similar to treatment of substance addiction, stopping the damaging behaviour and learn to recognize the hidden anxiety causing it.

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Cause of Trichotillomania; Woman Pulling Hair

Intelligent natural language question-answering in the area of psychology and psychiatry. Ask a simple question  Local help Info

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Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 17 Aug 2008.

My fiancee has been searching for treatment plan for trichotillomania for several years and still cannot find one that even helps. Any suggestions?


Trichotillomania: people pulling their hair so much that it leads to visible hair loss. The individual experiences an increasing tension before pulling his/her hair, and feels urges, satisfaction or relief when pulling hair.

Cognitive therapy, gestalt therapy, or some SSRI-medication can help.

The idea behind psychotherapeutic treatment is t make the patient desist from the urge-experience when she pulls her hair and help her feel the underlying unpleasant feeling instead.

This disease is similar to that of people who cut themselves with razor blades. The pain sets loose some signals that stimulate the "reward-centre" in the brain.

If she cannot find someone who can help her, she will have to help herself. With her approval, you or someone else could tie up her hands, so she cannot possibly pull her hair. Ask her to lie down on the bed and feel how unpleasant it feels. She may feel as if she will turn mad, but she won't. She must learn, finally, to stand the anguish and then it will calm down little by little. It is almost as difficult as quitting smoking; difficult, but possible. Repeat the treatment until she quits pulling her hair. She could also walk around with taped up gloves during the day, in order to stop from pulling her hair until she has gotten rid of this bad habit.

Intelligent natural language question-answering in the area of psychology and psychiatry. Ask a simple question:
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