Trichotillomania treatment: Your options for the hair-pulling disorder

Do you struggle with trichotillomania? Discover your treatment options for this hair-pulling disorder.

Trichotillomania is a common condition which primarily affects females of all ages. It is characterised as hair pulling and is commonly referred to as “trich.” 

Trichotillomania can be a tough condition to deal with, especially for young or isolated people. 

So we decided to put a small guide together for you to help understand trichotillomania treatment and your options for this hair-pulling disorder. 

Armed with this you will be better able to understand what treatment options exist and if they are a good fit for you. 

A great tip for sufferers is to be kind to yourself, so don’t beat yourself up for not knowing any of this before. 

1) Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy, or CBT, can be used as a highly effective treatment option for sufferers of trichotillomania. 

It works by targeting the underlying anxiety or triggers and focusing behaviour on not pulling when the urge arises. It is a form of coaching for women with trichotillomania to help them address the behavior and underlying root cause of the condition.

It also frees the sufferer from the burden of trichotillomania by addressing the associated feelings of guilt and shame. 

2) Habit reversal therapy

Habit reversal therapy or HRT is a scientifically proven method aiming to alter a person’s behaviour when stressors in their environment evoke unwanted repetitive hair pulling. 

The great thing about HRT is that it can be used by sufferers of any age and stage and is highly practical in its application. 

This therefore helps to replace the urge to pull with more productive coping mechanisms. 

3) Self-awareness training

Self-awareness training is great for helping you understand why you pull in the first place. 

Typically the steps include stepping back, observing thoughts and feelings as they come, and interpreting their effect on you. 

The results of self-awareness training can be seismic. Not only do sufferers get a better understanding of their condition and what triggers it, but they can eliminate stressors which cause them to pull in the first place.

4) Self-relaxation training

Self-relaxation training can help you relax and manage the underlying anxiety or stressors that cause hair pulling. 

The key steps are to: 

  • Take a deep breath in and out nice and slowly 
  • Focus on the sensations in the body 
  • Let those sensations be as they are don’t try and change them 
  • If thoughts come into your mind, gently shift your mind back onto the breath 

The results of self-relaxation training include decreased stress and therefore less hair pulling

5) Generalization training

Generalization training includes the training of the mind to interpret and respond to hair pulling differently from how it currently does. This includes a lot of practice. 

Key steps include: 

  • Observing pre and post hair pulling behaviour
  • Observing what behaviour you could align this to
  • Creating strategies that include generalizing how you look at hair pulling 

#6: Competing Response Training

Competing response training is a behaviour therapy technique which follows two pre-defined stages: 

  • Identification of habit i.e. when, where and how
  • Identification of triggers and warning signals and;
  • Creation and practice of alternative responses to hair pulling 

The practicality of this technique gives it very high success rates amongst sufferers. 

7) Comprehensive behavioral model

The comprehensive behaviour model allows sufferers to get a full view of how they interact with the world and how this can cause increases in hair pulling. 

The key steps here are: 

  • Understanding the various triggers 
  • Understand the array of behaviours associated with hair pulling and; 
  • Understanding the full range of consequences associated with hair pulling 

Everyone is different and no two treatment plans provide equal results therefore, we suggest that you find a treatment plan that works best for you.