Hair loss is often a very obvious and physical sign of a medical condition, but the reason itself is not always so apparent. Most people would be forgiven into thinking that the majority of wig-wearers are for medical purposes such as Alopecia, or Cancer but there is another less known medical condition out there affecting the lives and the hair of men and women across the world called Trichotillomania, also known as TTM.
Until a few years ago it was in fact very rare to hear or read detailed information on TTM.
So what is Trichotillomania?
Trichotillomania is also known as the ‘hair pulling disorder’ where a person feels the urge to pull their own hair out. This is known as an impulse control disorder. Hair removal can occur anywhere but most commonly on the head and face.
What causes it?
There is not thought to be one defined cause for TTM. Many people who suffer with TTM also have experienced some battle with depression, anxiety or OCD. Episodes of pulling can be triggered by anxiety. Some people can feel an increasing tension to pull their hair and then a sense of relief afterwards, this would suggest the person is fully aware of what they’re doing and how TTM affects them, while others have been known to be a in a trance like state where they pull their hair and don’t realise what they’re doing.
Is there any way to medically diagnose TTM?
If you experience hair loss following aggressive hair pulling it is really important to share this information with your GP or doctor as this can lead to an early diagnosis. Many people with TTM are embarrassed by their symptoms, this may due to the lack of media coverage of TTM, but you should remember, Doctor’s and other healthcare professionals are there to help. On rare occasions a biopsy can be performed which if positive for TTM, would reveal traumatised hair follicles.
Is there help and support offered to those with TTM?
Yes, but there is no medication which offers a cure to stop them pulling their hair or to make it grow back. In order to stop the act itself from continuing, many people are recommended by their doctor to undertake some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This is as simple as trying to re-train your mind to stop the act itself. Your doctor will be able to advise the correct course of treatment for the individual.
You are not alone if you have this condition there are many people out there.
For more information and support on dealing with Trichotillomania visit