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Tricotillomania (hair pulling)


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Hi. New to this posting stuff.  I have tricotillomania, the compulsion to pull out hairs from parts of the body.  With me, it's only been eyebrows since I was 15 or so.  But in the past few years the compulsion has extended to pulling WHITE hairs out of my horses tail, dogs hair, etc.  It doesn't seem to bother THEM, but it is driving me to the brink of insanity, as I COMPLETELY CANNOT STOP.   :(  I have heard many people post of Trich, regarding their own bodies, but I have never seen anyone else speak about this particular variety of the compulsion.  I would be so grateful to hear of other people who may have this disorder.  As i have read in others' posts, I sometimes am so obsessed that it will prevent me from doing important things in my life...eating, going out, sleeping, working, etc.  I am already on several meds, and have spoken to my docs about this, but nothing so far has been able to stop or break the compulsive behaviour.  Please help, and as I am a confirmed animal lover, know that I would not do anything that really harmed them, but maybe at worst annoys them.  And please, don't judge me; this is an illness.  Thank you.

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Welcome to the craziest place on the internet. Feel free to ask a mod or admin if you need help with something.

You might find you get more responses in the OCD or anxiety forums. Let me know if you'd like me to move it there.

Have you found a therapist (tdoc) who specializes in the treatment of OCD/anxiety disorders/compulsive behaviors? There are some really effective treatments if you get someone who knows what they're doing.

Edited by Wooster
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Hi. New to this posting stuff.  I have tricotillomania, the compulsion to pull out hairs from parts of the body.  With me, it's only been eyebrows since I was 15 or so.  But in the past few years the compulsion has extended to pulling WHITE hairs out of my horses tail, dogs hair, etc.  It doesn't seem to bother THEM, but it is driving me to the brink of insanity, as I COMPLETELY CANNOT STOP.   :(  I have heard many people post of Trich, regarding their own bodies, but I have never seen anyone else speak about this particular variety of the compulsion.  I would be so grateful to hear of other people who may have this disorder.  As i have read in others' posts, I sometimes am so obsessed that it will prevent me from doing important things in my life...eating, going out, sleeping, working, etc.  I am already on several meds, and have spoken to my docs about this, but nothing so far has been able to stop or break the compulsive behaviour.  Please help, and as I am a confirmed animal lover, know that I would not do anything that really harmed them, but maybe at worst annoys them.  And please, don't judge me; this is an illness.  Thank you.

I too have trich......though it comes in the form of cutting my hair I feel better after I cut hair..  It's my anxiety speaking I believe it's an anxiety spectrum trich.  Try not to listen to the lies in your head when you feel the compulsion to pick.  Remember it's your brain telling you to do something that you really don't want to do, distractions, maybe walk yourself thru it till you get to the point of visualization w/o acting the parts you don't like.  Sometimes med changes can help with the condition. Some med's amplify the desire get's so strong it's hard to stop once  I begin.  If I don't start and hold off one more minute or hour, sometimes it passes.  I'm glad you started this thread as to suffer with you. Your right there isn't much content on this subject.  Sometimes I cut my eyelashes too, I don't pull I cut. Same same compulsion, it get's so strong to follow thru doesn't it.      

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I have picked now for 20 years. I use needles and sharp things to dig the hairs out of my legs and stomach. My skin is a mess.

If you ever find a way out of this, let me know. I have brought this up so many times over the years but therapists and psychiatrists absolutely do not consider it an issue worth addressing. It makes me angry because my skin truly is ruined now.

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Another eyebrow and eyelash puller here.  These areas on our faces seem to have the most damage.  Just like you, I can't stand *not* pulling.  I hope you are able to find a way to stop.  I will bring it up to my therapist next time I see him, and see what he says.

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Well, this is the first time in my life admitting I have trich....so here goes. It used to be an obsession with my own hair (playing with it, cutting it) and then morphed into pulling out my eyebrows, and even nose hairs. Stress is very much a trigger for me -- stress obviously activates my anxiety disorder.

I think, and this is just my personal opinion, the mechanisms that control the urge to do this are somewhat systemic and they can manifest in different ways. Your migration to hair beyond your own hair is no stranger than the condition itself (I'm not trying to say the condition is strange -- just that it's no different). And of course you're right that it's an illness, and you shouldn't feel any shame or judgement for having an illness.

I will say than even though I believe mine is anxiety related, none of the anxiety medications I've taken in the past have really helped. It sounds like you're in the same position. What might help you though is some
 habit therapy, and some therapists can help you with that.

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