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Trichotillomania (TTM) is an impulse disorder[?] characterised by the repeated urge to pull out scalp hair, eyelashes[?], eyebrows[?] or other body hair. It is believed to be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Most TTM sufferers live relatively normal lives, except for the shame of having bald spots on one's head. Many clinicians characterize TTM as a mental disorder: TTM sufferers -- and some clinicians -- view this characterization as inaccurate and misleading, as well as conducive to discrimination against TTM sufferers. According to them, TTM is no more a mental disorder than is any other form of obsessive-compulsive behavior such as nail biting; many TTM sufferers have relatively normal work and social lives; and TTM sufferers are not any more likely to be unfit parents or to have significant personality disorders[?] than anyone else.

Shaving one's head is a workaround for some.

There have been recent clinical trials of drug treatment for trichotillomania, for example using anafranil[?], prozac, and lithium. One should use care in choosing a therapist who has specific experience and insight into the condition, lest one be overdiagnosed or overmedicated. Prozac and other similar drugs, which some professionals prescribe on a one-size-fits-all basis, tend to have limited usefulness in treating TTM, and can often have significant side effects.

External links


  • 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

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