We have all said it sometime when we are frustrated with a particularly stubborn situation: “I feel like pulling my hair out!” Even though we may think it, few of us are actually driven to ripping our locks out in handfuls. We have all had absent moments when perhaps we have been sitting dreaming or contemplating the world and found a few strands of hairs in our fingers.
This seems quite natural, but there are an unfortunate few people who become obsessed with pulling their hair out. This condition comes under the medical category of BFRB’s (body focussed repetitive disorders) and they are related to an individual constantly picking at or damaging one’s physical appearance. It includes damage to skin, nails, lips and cheeks. When individuals start pulling their own hair out it is called trichotillomania.
A compulsive urge
Trichotillomania is a condition in which individuals feel the compulsive urge to tug out their body hair. Leg hair, scalp hair, arm hair and armpit hair are all fair game, as is facial hair, eyelashes, chest and pubic hair. In an American survey it was found that about 1 to 3 per cent of the population suffers from it. Individuals who are constantly picking at their skin may find it is difficult to grow back and this is when they first start looking for treatment.
Of course, when it has got to this stage it is also likely to be affecting their daily functioning, confidence and self-esteem. As hair maybe taken out in clumps, sufferers will inadvertently present with an abnormal presentation. Consequently stigma is soon to follow. Sufferers are known to use wigs or toupees to help hide away their problem.
It tends to be anxiety driven. It is a dysfunctional way of dealing with stress. When you pull out your hair your feel for a short time an element of relief but there is no real reward because the original problem is still there and you are creating another problem by facilitating hair loss.
Controlling the condition
An important part of controlling the condition is learning how to confront the stress itself. Part of the self-care is calming down the anxiety in the first place. Cognitive Behavioural therapy is considered a useful therapy for this condition as it teaches patients to recognise their thoughts in relation to their behaviour and feelings. Sometimes anti-depressants are prescribed to help the sufferer cope.
One of the greatest problems with this condition is the shame that sufferers say they feel when they present what they have done to the world. Where wigs and toupee’s etc. can help them to a degree, it is only a plaster over the real medical issue. Skalp™ Micro Pigmentation can help in a much more fashionable and robust way than wigs and toupee’s but it is more likely to be used to help sufferers while they are dealing with the problem – and not a final solution through a medical practitioner.
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