What is trichotillomania or hair-pulling disorder?
Trichotillomania is a disorder that involves recurrent urges to pull out hair which leads to hair loss. Hair pulling can occur in any area where hair grows, but common areas include the eyelids, eyebrows, and scalp. People with trichotillomania often attempt to decrease or stop their hair pulling. Due to the hair loss, many children avoid activities that they used to enjoy resulting in social impairment.
The majority of people start engaging in hair pulling between the ages of 11 and 13.
What will treatment look like?
Trichotillomania is a complex disorder and requires an individualized treatment approach. A thorough assessment is usually completed at the beginning of therapy to identify triggers for hair-pulling in an attempt to understand the function of the behavior. For instance, why is your child engaging in hair pulling? Is it out of boredom or stress? Does your child like the sensation?
Evidence-based treatment for BFRBs includes a specific cognitive-behavioral therapy called habit reversal training (HRT) and an enhanced HRT protocol.
– The Comprehensive Behavioral Model (ComB)
After this assessment, the therapist will help your child to develop an increased awareness for when, where, why, and how the hair pulling occurs. The therapist will then help your child to control or change the hair pulling behavior. The therapist will work collaboratively with you and your child throughout the entire therapy process.