• An illustration of a woman driving a car.


    Compulsive Hair Pulling

  • A woman is using a cell phone to check her face.


    Compulsive Skin Picking

  • An illustration of a boy reading a book.


    Compulsive Nail Biting

  • Mayo Clinic Defintion

    Trichotillomania(trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh), also called hair-pulling disorder, is a mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.

  • Common Hair Pulling Regions

    A person might pull hair from just one body site, or multiple. Common body sites include pulling from the scalp, pubic hair, arm/leg hair, beard hair, eyebrows/eyelashes, and armpit hair.

Common Trichotillomania Myths

Is Trichotillomania a choice?

Trichotillomania and other body-focused repetitive behaviors ARE NOT A CHOICE! They are chronic medical conditions. It is easy for people to blame those with Trichotillomania for not being able to control their hands, but that ignores the fact that Trichotillomania stems from the "fight-or-flight" nervous system, making it a naturally ingrained behavior in the body and thus not a choice. It's the body's default response to trying to get it back to "center." It's not the individuals choice to have these urges, and they cannot usually be controlled through sheer willpower. That's why management is so important.

Is Trichotillomania an addiction?

While hair pulling may provide a sense of relief or pleasure for people with Trichotillomania, it is not an addiction in the traditional sense. People with Trichotillomania do not compulsively pull their hair out in order to reach an altered state of consciousness, they do it because their subconscious mind is looking to self-soothe.

Is Trichotillomania the same as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

While hair pulling may be symptomatic of another mental health condition, Trichotillomania is actually considered its own disorder. That's important to know because the treatment for OCD, ADHD, and BFRBs are all different.

Is Trichotillomania a rare condition?

While Trichotillomania may be lesser known than other mental health conditions, it is actually quite common. It is estimated that around 3.5% of the population suffers from this disorder, which means that there are potentially millions of people who struggle with it.

Trichotillomania can affect people of all ages, genders, and races.

Can Trichotillomania be cured?

There is currently no cure for Trichotillomania, but there are ways to manage the symptoms and urges. The most effective treatment options include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and habit reversal training (HRT). There are also awareness smart bracelets, and online support. These resources focus on helping people learn new coping strategies for dealing with stress and other triggers that may cause them to pull their hair.

TED | Overcoming Trichotillomania with the power of Keen Awareness: