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Anyone else suffer from trichotillomania ... just wanted to talk a little ...

(39 Posts)
wishingchair Mon 07-Jan-08 11:26:40

I started pulling my eyebrows when I was 13/14 and my parents divorced, my mum met someone else and we all moved from our family home to a new house with my now stepdad. I love my stepdad, mum, dad, stepmum dearly and it was a very amicable divorce. That said, any divorce is stressful and life is hard at that age anyway. I can remember exactly where I was when I first did it.

Now 20 years on, I still do it. Not severely ... I still have fairly normal eyebrows but if there are any hairs that aren't lying flat, I have to pull them out. I do it when I'm not doing anything (reading/watching tv etc) with my hands and do it without thinking but I do it more when stressed ... this last year has been hard as DH diagnosed with a brain tumour so eyebrows have been a bit more patchy than usual. It's occasionally bothered me but because it wasn't severe enough to mean I don't actually have any eyebrows, it's not particularly distressing. I do also bite/pick my lips ...

But today I caught myself doing it and just did a quick google ... and I saw it classified as a form of OCD and described as a chronic condition. Now I feel a bit weird about it ... a chronic condition? Is it a symptom of a deep seated psychological disorder??!

Anyone else suffer from this and had success in stopping doing it and how do you feel about the OCD/chronic condition thing? I always thought it was just a bit like nail biting but different ...

Califrau Mon 07-Jan-08 11:27:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryAnnSingleton Mon 07-Jan-08 11:30:32

there are quite a few people on mn with OCD - I think chronic means ongoing...have you thought of CBT or hypnotherapy - I don't have hair pulling but have OCD.

wishingchair Mon 07-Jan-08 11:33:20

thanks califrau ... I just thought it was one of those things ... people do all sorts of funny things don't they. But then I saw it had a scary name and support groups etc. Feel like I'm now looking at a mountain when before I thought it was a mole hill. Guess really I should keep it as a mole hill as it is an annoyance in my life rather than something that is highly distressing.

wishingchair Mon 07-Jan-08 11:35:29

chronic means ongoing? Oh that makes me feel much better! Yes definitely ongoing ... thought it meant really bad.

Never thought of hynotherapy ... might look into that. Have you had any experience of that maryannsingleton?

sparklygothkat Mon 07-Jan-08 11:41:12

Hi I suffer with Trich. It started at 11 with my eyelashes, then my eyebrows and then my scalp. I have managed to get the eyelashes and eyebrows under control, but still scalp pull every day. Please join the site, its run by my friend Lois (who is an eyelash puller) I have met a few people with trich and we are all normal wink

FWIW I have help with research into this terrible condition, and the results show its not an OCD as such, but an impulse disorder.

Califrau Mon 07-Jan-08 11:43:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryAnnSingleton Mon 07-Jan-08 11:45:23

Don't be alarmed by a the diagnosis of it being OCD - that doesn't mean you are a loon ! It just helps to channel you into the right direction for dealing with it...good advice there from sparklygothcat. Hypnotherapy can help you to unlearn the impulses that make you pull your hair...I went and had about 4 session for anxiety rather than specifically for OCD.

wishingchair Mon 07-Jan-08 11:46:10

thanks SGK ... I'll go over there now. How did you get the eyelashes/brows under control ... will power?!

sparklygothkat Mon 07-Jan-08 11:46:43

grin CF.Its more common that people realise, as people with Trich are very good at hiding it, or lying about it. I mean, who wants to admit that they pull out their own hair, eyelashes etc?? That would make them mad right?? It doesn't, of course, but when you think you are the only one in the world that does it, its hard!!

Misdee Mon 07-Jan-08 11:47:14

SGK is sooooooooooo not normal wink

i'm kidding, she is normal and lovely.

sparklygothkat Mon 07-Jan-08 11:52:53

I stopped pulling my eyelashes at 14, when I wanted to wear eye makeup. The eyebrows I have only got under control in the last few months, didn't even realise I had stopped pulling them tbh, until one day I went to pencil them in and realised I didn't have to..

sparklygothkat Mon 07-Jan-08 11:54:20

I think having a tiny baby helped with my pulling.. was always feeding, expressing and tubefeeding, so didn't have time to sit and pull IYKWIM>

curlywurlywee Mon 07-Jan-08 11:58:31

I'm a bit freaked out now after reading all this. My dd aged 5 pulls her hair and has done since about 3 years old. We've no idea why and it just seems to be a habit like some kids have a blankie, she sucks her thumb and plucks at her hair. She has had bald patches in the past but seems OK at the mo. By the way, she has very thin, fine hair and it comes out very easily. I am feeling quite wobbly about this now. Does anyone else have a child who does this?

wishingchair Mon 07-Jan-08 11:59:38

Right - am really going to try and keep my hands busy. I've got 2 dds and work (although I work from home and am "working" right now so, a bit of poetic licence used here) so am busy during the day. It's when I slob at night that's the problem. Keep buying art supplies but then grumbling I never have any time to do anything with them so I'm going to start tonight. That makes me sound really arty ... I'm so not!

sparklygothkat Mon 07-Jan-08 12:00:51

CW my Dd2 did it too, for 2 years, we ended up shaving her hair as she had pulled so much, it helped and she stopped doing it. Children generally outgrow it.

curlywurlywee Mon 07-Jan-08 12:03:17

Thanks for that SGK. How old is your dd now? Why do you think she did it? MN is so good for this kind of thing because my HV said she'd never seen it before. Gets me thinking that it's a weird thing she's doing. So good to know I'm not alone.

wishingchair Mon 07-Jan-08 12:05:03

curlywurlywee - I did read that when children do it, it is different to when teenagers/adults do it. I think wikipedia described it as a "benign" form in children and only when it starts as a teenager it can carry on into adulthood. I think it's quite common in children ...

sparklygothkat Mon 07-Jan-08 12:06:00

she is 6 now, and has had a full head of hair since she was 4. She used to do as a comfort thing too.

MaryAnnSingleton Mon 07-Jan-08 12:06:58

I think the worst thing about anything like this is thinking you're the only one doing it/going through it - I was amazed to discover OCD was something other people had too - a relief in a way and helped me get myself treated.

sparklygothkat Mon 07-Jan-08 12:07:08

what does she do with the hair CW? Normally they will rub the hair across their face as a form of comfort

curlywurlywee Mon 07-Jan-08 12:09:39

SGK, she just plucks at, not really hard just like stroking it but following it down from root to tip and then it comes out. It seems like a comfort habit to me. I used to do it when I was a teenager but I've got loads of hair so no impact.

sparklygothkat Mon 07-Jan-08 12:12:24

she should outgrow it cw.

curlywurlywee Mon 07-Jan-08 12:14:34

I hope so. It has improved and her hair is growing back. Poor old thing - other kids and old people sometimes mistake her for a boy.

How old was your dd when she started doing it?

curlywurlywee Mon 07-Jan-08 12:17:27

Sorry SGK, you've already answered me on the age of your daughter! Post Christmas brain fog still hanging around!

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