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Trichotillomania


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This is my story about a very demeaning disorder I am currently dealing with. It's probably going to be the hardest thing I'll have to overcome. I've tried almost everything I can. So I am resorting to putting my story on the internet in hopes that other people with this disorder can share their stories and maybe we can help each other. It's long but I'd love for people to read my story

As a child I began pulling out my eyebrows and eyelashes. My parents noticed the bald spots in my eyebrows and mentioned it to me. Luckily I stopped pulling. I wish that was the end of it. Little did I, or my parents know, that I would struggle with this disorder for my teenage years and possibly later on.

I'm currently 18 years old and my hair-pulling is at its worst, but on my scalp. The hair pulling on my head officially began my sophomore year of high school. I noticed most girls would sit at their desks and pick at their split ends. So I began to do the same. I became very obsessed with picking at my split ends, especially when I was bored. Then one day I guess a split end was so bad that I pulled the whole hair out. And this more than likely triggered my hair pulling....

At first, the pulling wasn't bad at all. I was hardly doing it, but I knew exactly what I was doing. However, I just told myself that it's no big deal and that I wouldn't do this very long. But of course it gradually got worse and worse. I was constantly playing with my hair, picking at split ends, and pulling the occasional hair out. 
While the hair pulling was minimal, my mother and I noticed that I was more stressed and worrisome than I should be. So I went to a therapist who diagnosed me with Generalized anxiety disorder and referred me to a psychiatrist. (I didn't tell her about the pulling) They thought it was best to put me on Zoloft (50 mg then 100 mg) for my anxiety. In my mind I figured this would help my stress and I would stop pulling so I was very excited for the medicine.

While my stress and anxiety did get better from Zoloft, my hair pulling was slowly getting worse. By senior year I noticed how thin my hair was getting and the bald spots. So I decided to talk to my mom about it. She felt so bad for not noticing because my best friend told her that she's noticed my hair is thinning tremendously.. after my mom told me this I was mortified and she was determined to help me get better. 

So I went to my usual physician and told her what was going on. She put me on Prozac (20 mg) as well as well as Buspar (15 mg). Neither of these made any difference in my hair pulling. I was even going to a therapist at the time and was really trying to stop. Going to a therapist was only beneficial in that she gave me a better understanding of why I pull, what it is, ways to stop, etc. I was still pulling though.

A few months later I went back to my physician and told her Buspar didn't work at all and neither did Prozac (with my pulling). My anxiety felt managed to me though, but there was a low lying anxiety causing the pulling. I was very happy and content with life, minus the pulling. My physician then put me on Paxil (20mg) as well as Klonopin (0.5 mg). The Klonopin was to take when I felt most anxious throughout the day. This only made me tired and didn't help the pulling. I went back to my physician again and told her Paxil and Klonopin didn't help pulling.

Today is the current day and she prescribed me with Lexapro (10 mg). I have high hopes each time I'm prescribed with a new medication. Unfortunately I still haven't found one that helps. I pretty much just get more stress about my pulling because I feel like no medicine will work and that I'll be stuck with this for the rest of my life. I can't even explain how impossible it seems to stop pulling. It's so frustrating and extremely embarrassing for me. I never want people to notice and I hate talking about it.. this time I'm hoping Lexapro will be the one.

So that's my story.. Maybe putting it out here will help. I'm willing to try anything honestly. 
I want to know how other people have overcome this. What medications you've taken, techniques, anything. You're not alone! Please please share your stories

Thank you for reading
 

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The way I think about trich is mostly as an anxiety disorder related behavior. Something you might find helpful is to find a therapist who specializes in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) specifically for anxiety with a special interest or experience in treating trich.

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I don't know anything about trich, but I do know about anxiety. CBT should always go hand in hand with medication to address anxiety related issues (not that I've been very good about following my own advice but you are young and have your whole life ahead of you and if you can get better from this that would be wonderful). Thank you for sharing your story and welcome to CB.

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I started pulling when I was 8 years old as a response to my mom marrying a bad person. It was so bad my head was nearly bald and we had to cut my hair like a boy. I developed some weird obsessive hand movements also. I never told anyone why it happened though, so no one knew. A few years later when my mom left this man, I stopped. Over the last 8 years or so I've restarted. It happens when I'm bored or stressed. My husband reminds me to stop when he sees my doing it though, and that helps. I still haven't told my doctor that I do it, so I don't know how to stop it. I was just put on vistaril for anxiety so I'm hoping that will help. I know this is not useful but I wanted to tell you that you are not alone.

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