Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Seeking help is the first step in treating trichotillomania. At first you may see your primary care doctor or a dermatologist. He or she may then refer you to a mental health provider.
These suggestions may help make your appointment easier:
- Write down all the symptoms you're experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to hair pulling. Trichotillomania can cause both physical and psychological symptoms. Note which factors trigger your hair pulling, how you've tried to deal with the problem, and factors that make it better or worse.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes and whether hair pulling runs in your family.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking. Include on your list the specific name and dose of these medications, and how long you've been taking them.
Create a list of questions ahead of your appointment so that you can make the most of your time with your doctor. For example:
- What might have caused me to develop this disorder?
- How do you diagnose this condition?
- Is this something that will go away on its own? Is there anything I can do on my own to improve my symptoms?
- What treatments do you recommend for this disorder?
- What if I can't afford therapy?
- If I decide to take medications, how long will it take for my symptoms to improve?
- What are the side effects of the medications you're recommending?
- How much improvement can I realistically expect if I follow your treatment plan?
- What if nothing helps?
In addition to your prepared questions, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
- 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.