I Am Pulling My Hair Out and Need Advice
I am just 15 and i am male. About 3 years ago i got nits and bought some conditioner for it. My scalp reacted with it and i got dandruff. My peers teased me about my dandruff and i started frantically rubbing my hair to get rid of it. When i was 14 it turned into pulling hair from the very centre of my scalp. i didnt want to pull my hair and get bald but i had an urge and got satisfaction out of pulling. i have now got a small circle of baldness on my scalp and have managed to stop pulling from there but now im pulling from the back of my neck and behind my ears and it is thinning out there. I require help and advice and want to know:if i leave it will it grow back to normal?
This condition is called trichotillomania, which is an impulse disorder characterized by the urge of pulling out hair from scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, beard, nose, pubic area, or any other area in the body. It is most often related to obsessive-compulsive disorders. Surgical treatments for hair restoration are usually not indicated, and the best treatment would be through psychotherapy and behavioral treatment. You should be seen and treated by a psychiatrist. If you can stop pulling hair, it will usually grow back in a few months with no further treatments, but if you have stopped pulling out your hair and the hair does not return, then transplants are a relatively fool proof way of handing it provided that you do not go back to pucking out the hair again and again.
Dr. Richard Shiell wrote the following about this disease: “By far the most common of patients with this disease are children of both sexes and as trichotillomania is an OCD, where stress seems to play a role, most of the kids just “grow out of it” with no lasting problems. Success rate very high (probably over 90 %)
Some do not grow out of it however and a small percentage of the females go on to be chronic pluckers. They associate the plucking with episodes of stress but I do not know if this has been verified scientifically. Most of the cases I see fall into this category and have plucked each hair so many times that the follicles in the patch cease to grow somewhere along the line. In other cases, not so long standing, the hair is short , vellus-like and snowy white in the plucked area. It is this group of women who acknowledge the plucking (past or present) and who are seeking help that you will have some success after transplantation. I cannot give you a figure for success as I have lost contact with all of these patients over the years. Psychologists tell me that medication will assist those members of this group who find it difficult to refrain from plucking.”
I am a former hair plucker. I plucked my eyebrows and eyelashes for over 30 years and thank goodness they grow back. A few are growing back without color, but that could be due to my age – 43.
I do not agree that it is necessarily an OCD. I am not an expert on trichotillomania, but only in my case it began as a curiosity, turned into a fascination, triggered by stress, boredom and static activities. There was a release with the plucking. It has had periods of compulsivity in the last several years in which it was an itch that had to be scratched – no matter how I\’d tell myself to stop, I just HAD TO DO IT. It was the only way to get past the urge. So I thought.
I have a blog about my journey with hair-pulling with insights and suggestions that I hope will inspire others. Feel free to have a look: http://www.heal-hair-pulling.info
The sooner you stop, the easier it will be. Trust me.
There are good programs to learn to quit plucking by a woman who healed herself after 27 years of plucking the hair on her head. They can be found on my blog.
Thanks for the explanation, Dr. William. I think people suffering from trichotillomania, should go for psychic treatment apart from treatment for hair loss.