Trichotillomania is the recurrent pulling out of one’s hair resulting in noticeable hair loss. Hair is often pulled from the regions of the scalp, eyebrows, or eyelashes, but pulling can take place anywhere hair grows on the body. It is the most well known of the Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs).
Diagnostic Criteria (DSM-5)
The specific DSM-5 criteria for trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) are as follows:
- Recurrent pulling out of one’s hair, resulting in hair loss.
- Repeated attempts to decrease or stop the hair-pulling behavior.
- The hair pulling causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- The hair pulling or hair loss cannot be attributed to another medical condition (e.g., a dermatologic condition).
- The hair pulling cannot be better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., attempts to improve a perceived defect or flaw in appearance, such as may be observed in body dysmorphic disorder)
Skin Picking Disorder, otherwise known as Excoriation Disorder, although intended with the motivation to improve one’s appearance, often goes out of control, becomes excessive, and frequently results in significant damage to the skin. Individuals with this disorder are at risk for infection and scarring. Often there is significant social impairment due to the sufferer’s shame over the self-inflicted physical damage produced by the picking behavior.
For more information about Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, such as Trichotillomania, and how we can successfully treat them, visit our blog articles on the topic:
If this seems to describe what you or your loved one is experiencing, consider contacting us at CBT SoCal for help.