Hair is quite an important element of appearance for many people. Every day, we devote a lot of time to style and care for our hair, to maintain the good condition. However, some people experience the problem of compulsive hair pulling, which is a mental disorder. Patients usually pull hair from their own scalp, less often eyebrows or eyelashes. The solution to this problem is oral treatment with antidepressants and therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist. Medical procedures can be very helpful during the treatment, e.g. FUE hair transplantation, mesotherapy and radiation.

What is trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a mental disorder, that manifests itself in the unrestrained need to pull out your own hair. Most often, hair is pulled from the head or eyebrows, and much less from other hairy parts of the body. Patients often eat hair, which can lead to gastrointestinal disorders. People with trichotillomania, sometimes fall into a trance and completely unknowingly pull their hair out.

 

trichotillomania - unconscious hair pulling

Trichotillomania – unconscious hair pulling

What is the origin of this disease?

The causes of this disorder are not entirely clear to doctors and therapists. They are often associated with experiencing severe stress, depression or genetic and environmental factors. For some patients, the action is fully conscious, while for others it is automatic. Hair pulling is accompanied by frustration, anxiety, pleasure and calmness. Because of this, thinned areas are formed on the patient’s body, which are the reason for embarrassment. Specialists also indicate periods of recurrence and remission of symptoms. Untreated, the disease will become a serious chronic disease.

Trichotillomania and children

The disease can appear in any period of the patient’s life. Statistical data show, that most cases of trichotillomania occur between 8 and 14 years of age. The disorder largely affects women, who get it up to 10 times more often than men. According to specialists, Trichotillomania is an introduction to depression and neurotic behavior, so it is very important to start a treatment quickly.

How to recognize the disease?

Significant and irregular hair loss is of great importance when it comes to the diagnosis of trichotillomania. This defect cannot be related to skin problems or other diseases. Trichotillomania can hardly be mistaken for ordinary baldness, because only single tufts of hair will be seen on the patient’s head. The patient will notice tension and a sense of relief when pulling out the hair. Further progression of baldness leads to depression and moving the patient away from society. Not every patient feels positive feelings about pulling out their hair. When recognizing the disease, you need to reassure yourself, that the patient is aware, that he is pulling out his hair.

Treatment

It is very important to improve the patient’s quality of life, which is carried out in two ways. Psychiatric consultation and the selection of appropriate medications is necessary. The goal of the medication is to inhibit serotonin reuptake. Serotonin is responsible for sexual desire and the regulation of sleep and appetite. A low serotonin level leads to a bad mood and aggressive behavior. Comprehensive therapy is also needed, and one of the most effective methods is behavioral-cognitive therapy. The patient will then get rid of unwanted behaviors. The support of loved ones is very important, because patients often feel lonely.

What can a trichologist do?

In order to improve the patient’s well-being, it may be necessary to supplement the lack of hair caused by the disease. Patients often suffer from hair loss and unsightly scalp defects. Hair transplantation may be a good solution. The treatment offered at the clinic is a completely safe and modern FUE method. The doctor will collect individual hair follicles from the patient’s head and place them in the affected area. The procedure is performed without the use of a scalpel and under local anesthesia, which significantly shortens the recovery time. The effect of this procedure is permanent and can be seen after a few weeks.

Hair growth stimulating treatments

We can improve the condition of hair by using treatments, that stimulate the work of hair bulbs. These include UV radiation and mesotherapy. Mesotherapy involves subcutaneous administration of nutritional mixtures. The procedure can be performed with a cannula or a special gun. The mixtures include vitamins, minerals or platelet rich plasma, obtained from the patient’s blood. Mesotherapy will stimulate the work of hair follicles, which will have a positive effect on the speed of hair growth and their condition.

Dr Piotr Turkowski

About Dr Piotr Turkowski

Aesthetic medicine doctor, specialist and enthusiastic surgery, completing the specialization in plastic surgery. The only officially registered member of the international hair restoration surgery (ISHRS) in Warsaw, which brings together the world's best specialists in this field.