Trichotillomania is a mental, impulse control disorder that causes the sufferer to pull her hair out from the scalp and other areas of the body. This hair pulling often results in bald patches (see trich.org). Most common during adolescence and among females (kidshealth.org, 2009), it is estimated that Trichotillomania affects between 2 and 10 million Americans (FAQ- www.trich.org).
Things You'll Need
- Trichotillomania information sources
- Journal or notebook
- Mental health provider, if available
- Reward of your choice
Read! Head to your public library, or go online, and get as many information sources on Trichotillomania (articles, books, or pamphlets, etc.) as you can. Try to understand the disorder, who is affected, what triggers it, and any currently available treatments. Knowing your enemy will help you to better fight it.
Locate a support group. Go online and search for people who are also affected by Trichotillomania. There are online support groups and groups that meet face to face. Building a base of support will help you battle the emotional distress of this disorder. The Trichotillomania Learning Center website lists support groups by state or country and even has resources for starting your own group.
Keep a journal. Record the number of times you find yourself pulling your hair out. Identify and track the types of environments, situations and emotional stressors that cause you to pull out your hair.
Write out the reasons for your decision to stop pulling your hair. Make a list of the people who support your decision and keep the list in a protected place. Read through it each day.
Disrupt your usual patterns. If you find through journaling that you pull your hair out while you are watching a particular television show in the evening, turn the TV off entirely and go do something else. Grab a book or go surf the web during that time. Or find something else to occupy your hands, such as knitting, during that time.
Consult mental health service professionals, if possible, to help you manage your illness. They will also be able to provide you with strategies for coping with Trichotillomania.
Sign a contract with concerned friends and family. Signing a contract adds personal accountability for your actions. Plus, you are less likely to fail if you know there are people counting on you and supporting your goals.
Reward yourself handsomely. If you have been successful and reduced or eliminated hair pulling from your life, give yourself something special. It could be a special outing, a spa day, or a trip to your favorite salon. Any reduction is reward-worthy!