Trichotillomania (TTM) or “trich” is a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) characterized by the repeated urge to pull out scalp hair, eyelashes, beard hair, nose hair, pubic hair, eyebrows or other body hair.
Some people interested in hair removal can become focused on plucking hairs in a way that provides temporary relief, but long-term distress because they feel they can’t control the habit of pulling out hairs.
Most people in the trich community live relatively normal lives, except for having bald patches on their head, among their eyelashes, or brows. They are not any more likely to have significant personality disorders than anyone else. However, some have experienced low self-esteem from being treated poorly by some 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 (OCD) ,with which it shares both similarities and differences. 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.
- 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
The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (formerly known as the Trichotillomania Learning Center)
TrichStop (an online program and app to help people who want to reduce their plucking)
Trichotillomania Blog (a personal account from someone who experiences trich)