All right, so who else has trichotillomania?

In case you’re wondering what the heck trichotillomania is, it’s an impulse control disorder that makes people yank out their hair.
I have it, and I’ve recently been having an episode where I keep pulling from the back of my head. It’s not really serious, and it was much worse in junior high when I pretty much pulled out half the hair on my head. I ordered a couple books about it, but I had them sent to my parents’ address instead of my college address so I won’t get to read them for another month or so. But I was just wondering who else has it and how they deal with it.

hug My friend’s 8 year old son has this and I feel for the poor kid. He started doing it a couple months ago in response to the stress of moving and he looks like a little old man now according to my friend :frowning:

I have to make a concerted effort not to pluck my eyebrows out when I’m bored/stressed… especially since I only do it to one side for some reason.

Well, I guess you DO learn something new every day!

Good luck, I guess - I honestly know nothing about this disorder. Sounds like quite a burden.

I don’t have the disorder – at least, I don’t think I do – but I like to tug my eyebrows and eyelashes from time to time. I do it only to get rid of loose hairs that would soon be shed anyway, so that they don’t fall into my eyes. I never pull out hair that is firmly rooted.

I have it. It used to be really bad. Like many people with trich, it started when I got to college. I’d be sitting in class, listening to the lecture, and absent-mindedly pull out strands of hair. Or I’d do it while I was working on homework. It got to the point where I would embarrass myself by opening text books in front of people and discovering shit-loads of hair in between the pages.

To control the madness, I cut off my hair. I’m taking about, I went from long hair that went down to the middle of my back to buzz cut within a matter of weeks. The behavior stopped simply because I had nothing to work with. But as soon as I let my hair grow out just a little, I started up again. It got so bad that I started developing other stereotyped behaviors like hand waving and eye-blinking whenever I would try to resist pulling out my hair.

One day I looked in the mirror and saw how ugly the crown of my head was. My hair was all thin and fragile at the site of plucking, and I knew people had to wonder what was going on. That’s when I realized I had a problem. So I found a solution: putting stuff on my head. As soon as I get home from school, I braid up my hair and tie a scarf around it. Stopping hasn’t come easy; it’s taken more than a year for me to get to the point where I don’t feel like I have a problem anymore. But I don’t feel “cured” either. Occassionally, I find myself tugging at a hair strand and looking at it. But considering what I used to do, I think I’m in good shape.

My older sister plucks out her eyelashes. I’m grateful that I don’t have this particularly habit because you can tie a scarf around eyelashes.

I hope you find what works for you. Hair pulling is no fun, and I know how crazy and sad it can make you feel. :frowning:

Hey, I had it too. I thought I was the only one. When I was in secondary school (that’s around 13-16 years old, for you USA folks) I pulled out so much hair from the top of my head that you could see a large patch of white scalp underneath… I’m talking about like a third of my head. It looked like the head of a balding old man, who’ve got scant strands of hair combed over large bald patches.

And I would leave hair everywhere-- after I left class, there would be so much hair next to my chair, and when I read a book on my bed, the ground next to it would slowly get covered with hair… like a LOT of it. Not just the stray strand here and there.

My parents offered to send me to see a psychiatrist. I really didn’t wanna go. I went and put up my best pretense of being perfectly well-adjusted, so I was let off after 2 sessions or so. Stopped me doing it temporarily, I guess.

But somehow I just grew out of it… I don’t know how it happened. I don’t remember making a conscious effort… maybe I felt unconscious pressure to be more presentable… or maybe my anxieties surfaced more and I didn’t have to suppress them, resulting in compulsive hair-pulling. These days (I’m 22 this year) I only occasionally tug at it and rarely tug it out. It’s pretty much all grown back nice and thick.

I have a mild form of trich. One day, don’t know why, I was sitting in a chair and started pulling right about at the crown. It felt kinda good (kinda like picking a scab can feel good, for those without trich wondering what it’s like), and I have TONS of hair, so I didn’t think it would matter. Until I looked in a mirror and saw a little bald spot. I parted my hair diferently after that, which helped cover it up for the most part, and did the scarf thing, too.

I’ve had problems with it on and off since, a couple of times people have noticed the bald spot, mostly when they’re standing right over me (for instance, when I’m seated in front of the computer and they stand behind me to watch what I’m doing). It can be a little embarassing/hard to explain. I also sometimes pull right at the back of my neck, which leaves much less noticible damage, esp. since I wear my hair down most of the time.

I tend to do it more when I’m stressed out. Things have been going pretty well for me recently, and from the former bald spot sprouts a chunk of hair shorter than the rest of my hair, but it blends in well. I can somewhat control the urge to pull, as well. Sometimes pulling on the hair rather than pulling it out will help, or I let myself pull out just a few strands. Sometimes I can switch to places on my head that won’t show so bad, or pull out a few hairs from different places so no large bald spots show.

I also pick at the skin on my lips, which seems to be a related behavior with a similar “satisfaction” to it. This has been a daily habit for many years, and would be very difficult to stop. But it doesn’t seem to get in the way too much, my lips just always look (always are) rather chapped all the time, that’s about the extent of the damage from it. I’m surprised I don’t get sick more often though, touching my mouth all the time.

I pull my eyelashes out. When I was at school it was so bad I developed bald spots. It’s never been diagnosed as trich or anything else, but I know I do it as a response to stress or nerves or anxiety.

Sometimes I catch myself doing it and sit on my hands but that only works for a while. I still have a little bald spot on my left eyelid. It seems to bear the brunt of it. My right eyelid has been left mercifully alone.

I don’t do it so much these days… but sometimes it gets a bit out of hand. I’m more conscious of it though, so with a bit of willpower I can stop it.


A friend of mine suffered from trich in college. She sought counseling, and anti-anxiety drug treatment, which worked for her.

I found this website that offers explanations of different therapies, outreach groups, etc.

I hope this helps. Good luck to you.

'Nother trich sufferer here.

Pretty much grew out of causing giant Alopecia-like bald spots, but still pluck the occasional follicle.


I pick at the skin on my lips, too. What an odd thing to write… anyway, my lips always look super chapped. I cover it up with ChapStick and lip gloss, so you can’t really tell, but in the mornings, it’s just awful…

Here’s a link to a thread about TTM back in January–my post is about half-way down the page:

(Hope I did that right, if not, could a Mod please fix it? :))

Thanks to Chicken Scratch for providing the link to the site. Believe it or not, TTM sufferers are just like anyone else, we just happen to pull out our hair. For such a long time, I thought that I was the only one who did this though! thanks for having the courage to discuss it now.

My trich started when I was about four – I plucked myself nearly bald. I got better as the years went by, but it’s an uphill battle. My areas were originally the long strands on the side of my head, but now my area has “migrated” to right behind my left earlobe. I also bite my hands until they’re raw and bleeding, though that too has dropped off somewhat, mostly thanks to sheer determination. I’ve found cutting sugars out of my diet helped control the trich, and as long as I have something in my mouth (like gum, you perverts) I don’t gnaw my hands.


i do that! i don’t know why, it’s just something i find myself doing. not all over, just the bottom of the top lip. and i pull out my eyelashes too. sometimes it just feels like there are too many there. but i’ve never pulled out hair from my scalp.

though i did shave it all off once…

my school made me wear a wig.

Ah, good to know there are other Dopers that go through this. A couple years ago I frequented a really great trichotillomania message board ( ), and it helped me out a lot. I’ve been lurking there for a while, but I went back after studying for an exam gave me a little bald spot.

I believe I have it. (Really, what the hell else could this be?) I pull out hair from my eyelashes and eyebrows if I get bored, or nervous–sometimes I think I do it more or less subconsiously. I never thought much about it until a girl in my psychology class last semester pointed out what I was doing and voiced her extreme disgust that I had an actual pile of eyelashes and eyebrow hairs on my desk.


other people do this too???

and its a named disorder?!?!?!???

I have done this as long as I can remember…it gets really bad when I get stressed

But I don’t just pull any ole hair…I feel the hairs and only pull the ones that feel “differant” courser, have a kink or knot, and or are curlie. I have this one spot on my head that will tingle…sort of a cue to pluck (oddly I have never {KNOWINGLY} created a bald spot.) This spot on my head now has the most abundance of “differant” hairs. Most likely because I have damaged the folical causing the hair shape to change

Anyhow glad to know there are so many others and REALLY disturbed to know its a disorder.

I wouldn’t be too disturbed that it is a disorder; I figure with the other stuff in my life, pulling hairs is, well, splitting hairs. If others can deal with you doing it, or if you don’t mind dealing with the stares, it’s a handlable situation.

What may be distressing is it seems like trich seems to be related to obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, and manic-depression. Not saying that you have it per se, but it’s something to look out for.

As the person who started the thread in January, I have it as well - it’s a stress reliever for me. I’m taking meds for depression, and will let the trich slide.

Yes, I have it. I only noticed it now that my hair is longer and reading this thread. I usually do it when I’m bored, and will try to stop. I usually end up twisting my hair into knots instead.