A child with Trichotillomania feels the urge to pull out their hair, not only on their head but in some cases, all over their body. It is a disorder that falls under the category of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Children with Trichotillomania often pull unconsciously so they may not recall doing so. Others may have a ritual, removing certain textures and colors of hair. Studies have shown that this behavior is more common in older people than in children. With extreme cases children and young adults with Trichotillomania also can compulsively eat their hair after pulling it out. This aggressive type of pulling can result in serious health issues, since ingesting large amounts of hair in the intestinal tract can cause blockage.
Signs to look for in children with Trichotillomania can include hair that looks like its been broken off and in asymmetrical patterns. Another sign will be bald spots that have sores or scabs on it or finding hair on the pillow or floor. Another sign is when the hand is constantly near their head feeling their hair when reading a book or doing any other relaxing activity.
The onset of Trichotillomania commonly starts at 12 years old but can appear as early as 2 years of age. Girls are more likely to have this disorder than boys. It has also been discovered that if any first-degree family member suffers from any type of OCD disorder Trichotillomania will more commonly occur. It is important to note that with this disorder there are two types:
- automatic hair pulling
- focused hair pulling
With automatic hair pulling the child doesn't realize they are pulling until after they are done with the activity that has zoned her out (i.e. watching TV, reading etc). In focused hair pulling the child is doing this intentionally, because it feels soothing to them. This type of hair pulling is almost always done in private away from other people.
Whether your child experiences automatic or focused hair pulling, the struggle is the same, because Trichotillomania has such a devastating effect on the child's appearance it is almost always very damaging to their self esteem and can interfere with their social life and the ability to do well in school and other activities.
The road to recovery for hair pullers is a long one. Unfortunately, the treatment options that are available have not been very successful. The best that one can hope for is that you can find a solution to gain back your child's self esteem by using options that are available to replace the hair back that has been affected by the pulling.
To learn more, contact us today, or schedule your free hair consultation to see how our Intralock™ Process can help your hair.