ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Although it may not seem particularly serious, trichotillomania can have a great impact on your life. Complications include:
- Emotional distress. Many people with trichotillomania report feeling shame, humiliation and embarrassment and experience low self-esteem, depression and anxiety because of their condition.
- Social problems. Embarrassment because of hair loss may lead you to avoid swimming, haircuts and windy weather. People with trichotillomania may wear wigs, style their hair to disguise bald patches or wear false eyelashes. Some people may avoid intimacy for fear that their condition will be discovered.
- Skin damage. Constant hair pulling can cause abrasions and other damage, including infections, to the skin on your scalp or the specific area you're pulling hair from.
- Hairballs. Eating your hair may lead to a large, matted hairball (trichobezoar) in your digestive tract. Over a period of years, the hairball can cause weight loss, vomiting, intestinal obstruction and even death.
- Duke DC, et al. Trichotillomania: A current review. Clinical Psychology Review. 2010;30:181.
- Trichotillomania. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Oct. 12, 2010.
- Stein DJ, et al. Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), skin picking disorder, and stereotypic movement disorder: Toward DSM-V. Depression and Anxiety. 2010;27:611.
- Chamberlain SR, et al. Trichotillomania: Neurobiology and treatment. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 2009;33:831.
- Chamberlain SR, et al. Lifting the veil on trichotillomania. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;164:568.
- Tay YK, et al. Trichotillomania in childhood: Case series and review. Pediatrics. 2004;113:e494.
- Moritz S, et al. Movement decoupling: A self-help intervention for the treatment of trichotillomania. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. In press. Accessed Oct. 12, 2010.
- Shenefelt PD. Biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral methods, and hypnosis in dermatology: Is it all in your mind? Dermatologic Therapy. 2003;16:114.