Trichotillomania (TTM) or “trich” is an impulse control disorder characterised by the repeated urge to pull out scalp hair, eyelashes, beard hair, nose hair, pubic hair, eyebrows or other body hair. It may be distantly related to obsessive-compulsive disorder, with which it shares both similarities and differences.

Most TTM sufferers live relatively normal lives, except for having bald spots on their head, among their eyelashes, or brows. Eyelashes have been reported to grow back thinner or in much lesser amounts. An additional danger is from the low self-esteem which comes from being shunned by peers, and the fear of socializing due to appearance. Many clinicians classify TTM as a mental disorder, though the classification is debatable. Some clinicians classify TTM as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some classify TTM as a form of self-harm. Some say it is neurobiological condition. Others say that TTM is no more a mental disorder than is any other habitual behavior, such as nail biting (onychophagia) or compulsive skin picking (dermatotillomania), while others say that it is a type of addiction. Many TTM sufferers have relatively normal work and social lives; and TTM sufferers are not any more likely to have significant personality disorders than anyone else.


  • Penzel (2003) The Hair-Pulling Problem: A Complete Guide to Trichotillomania; Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195149424
  • Keuthen, Stein, Christensen & Christenson (2001) Help for Hair Pullers: Understanding and Coping With Trichotillomania; New Harbinger Publications, ISBN 1572242329
  • Stein (Ed.), Christenson (Ed.) & Hollander (Ed.) (1999) Trichotillomania; American Psychiatric Press, ISBN 0880487593
  • Parker (Ed.) (2004) Trichotillomania – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References ; Icon Health Publications, ISBN 0597846642

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