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11yr old pulling his hair out

(9 Posts)
ormirian Tue 25-Mar-14 08:23:59

Ds2 has been doing this for a about 6 months. He has given himself bald patches. Every time we manage to stop him in one place he starts in another. I had his hair cut shorter to try to disguise it but it's starting to worry me now. He is starting at secondary school and its already going to be hard for him- he's an 'an old-fashioned child', obsessive in his likes and interests, and has no concept of fitting in. I can't bear to think of him having such an obvious reason for teasing.

Googling suggests links to OCD whicH honestly doesn't sound all that unlikely. Anyone have any experience or advice please?

babypup Tue 25-Mar-14 08:52:06

I always did this is a child, even my eyelashes at one point. As an adult I still do it at times of stress. As does my Mum. I have also read it is linked to some kind of OCD, just not pure OCD as we know it to be. For me it is linked to being an anxiety reducing behaviour, so perhaps there is something underlying that is stressing him out a bit? Are there patterns/times when he engages in this behaviour? Like when he is reading/watching TV? If so perhaps giving him something to do with his hands, like a stress ball during these times to distract from the habit. It's really stressful when we see our kids doing things they can't seem to control, I hope you find an effective way of sorting this out x

ormirian Tue 25-Mar-14 09:33:48

Thanks babypup.

I wouldn't be surprised if he is stressed. Secondary school is worrying him - we've had lots of talks about that and he had now realised that all his closest friends are going to the same school with him which helps. H and I went through a difficult patch for a while - I know that upset him although we both tried to reassure him and things are 100% better now. And after 7 years of floating through school in his own little bubble he has begun, thanks to SATS to worry about how far behind he is - nothing that can't be addressed and he had improved massively in the last 18 months.

It's mainly when he's sitting reading or watching TV - I gave him an elasctic band to flick on his wrist, it was something I tried to stop me biting my nails (even worse habit!). It didn't work. I am not a great at sitting down and relaxing - in fact I can't do it. Maybe DS is like me in that respect.

Wondering if I should visit the GP?

Hobblethwaite Tue 25-Mar-14 09:42:25

Hey it's called trichotilimania and can often manifest in early adolescence. The link above provides a bit more information. Hope this helps.

ormirian Tue 25-Mar-14 13:17:42

Thanks hobble. That is in fact where I saw the link between hair pulling and OCD.

Luckystar1 Tue 25-Mar-14 13:22:43

I did it too. When I was about 9 or 10. It was quite serious but luckily it grew back fine. I think mine was linked to stress/anxiety. I was studying for my 11 plus at the time. I don't know how it stopped, it just did!

Not massively helpful, but I can remember a hairdresser pointing it out to my mum and I think it stopped after that as I was mortified with all the questions.

babypup Tue 25-Mar-14 13:43:10

It's interesting it happens when he relaxes, exactly the same for me. It's when I read, watch TV and don't have anything to occupy my hands. My 5 year old son has tics when he watches TV or is innactive, blinking, sniffing and the like. It may be worth going to the GP, but unlikely they will be able to give you a huge amount of help. What they could provide you with is a referral to somebody your son could chat to about potential underlying anxiety? It's a minefield isn't it? As Mum's do we ignore it/intervene? I'm at the same point with my son and his tics so I really feel for you x

BreakfastEpiphany Tue 01-Apr-14 20:54:25

I did it too at 9, but I stopped after a spell maybe 6 or 8 months. Had bald patches etc. I never did it since. Still bite nails though! Its a stress/boredom reliever. Defo the hair pulling coincided with stress both at home and in school at the time.
Over 20 yrs ago so I am sure other posters have valuable recent thinking on how to tackle it I just wanted ti provide some reassurance that it could ve a phase that will pass.

Bearleigh Tue 01-Apr-14 21:07:45

I did in my teens to the extent that I got a bald spot, and still do now, at age 54, at times of stress as the other posters do. I get very annoyed when people ask/tell me to stop, so I suppose it's an obsession.

I am not sure how it's otherwise linked to OCD, as I don't have any other 'obsessive' behaviours, but my nephew suffers really, really, badly from OCD, and that has a genetic element I understand, so maybe that is the genetic element.

From my experience I don't think you need to worry about this being the start of OCD.

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