Why Do I Have the Urge to Pull My Hair Out?

Trichotillomania is a condition mainly characterized by the irresistible urge to pull one’s hair. People afflicted with this disorder find themselves having recurrent urges to pull hair not just from their scalp. They may also pull the hair from their eyelids, eyebrows and other parts of the body. This habit of hair pulling results in the partial removal of eyelashes and eyebrows. Some areas of their scalp will also look bald or with patches of hair loss. The hair loss which occurs as a result of hair pulling may also cause distress in an individual. They may make repeated attempts in putting such a habit to an end but they would often fail. If you’re among those individuals who ask why do you have this urge to pull your hair out, some experts claim it could be due to one or any of the following reasons.

You’re Coping With Anxiety

Many individuals who are suffering from this disorder associated their unwanted behavior with anxiety. A study that had almost 900 people diagnosed with trichotillomania as participants had more than 80 percent of them associate such disorders with anxiety. Some of the participants also reported that their hair-pulling behavior becomes worse when their anxiety also becomes severe.

Functional or Structural Brain Issues

Some experts suggest that trichotillomania is caused by structural or functional abnormalities of the brain. Findings from a study conducted that some people with this disorder have subtle changes in certain parts of their brain such as in their cortical regions, putamen, and cerebellum. These are the areas of the brain that largely determine how prone an individual may become in developing habitual behaviors. These are also the same areas of the brain that tell one’s ability to suppress unwanted behaviors. Some scientists suggest that trichotillomania may be caused by an imbalance in the production of brain chemicals.

You Have Childhood Trauma

Results from a 2002 study showed a link between individuals who experienced emotional neglect, childhood trauma, and trichotillomania. The said study revealed that the levels of childhood trauma were higher among people who are suffering from trichotillomania. Another study conducted among people with trich also showed that more than 75 percent of them had past exposure to a traumatic event. Moreover, 19 percent of these study respondents also qualified for a PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) diagnosis.

Maybe It’s in Your Genes

One study showed that some people are genetically predisposed to developing trichotillomania. A new study supports this idea as experts from the Duke Center for Human Genetics revealed that a small fraction of trichotillomania cases were brought about by a mutation in the gene. Specifically, this gene is referred to by scientists as SLITKR1. The said study had 44 families as respondents. One or more of their family members were diagnosed with this hair-pulling disorder. 

One form of therapy has been found effective in treating this disorder. The habit reversal training helps individuals with trich replace their unwanted behavior with something that does not cause them any harm. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is also known to work wonders in helping people with the hair-pulling disorder. If you or your loved one is suffering from this disorder better ask help from a professional.

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