Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
These factors tend to be associated with trichotillomania:
- Family history. Susceptibility to trichotillomania may be inherited.
- Age. Trichotillomania usually develops during adolescence — most often between the ages of 11 and 13 — and is often a lifelong problem. Children younger than age 5 also can be prone to hair pulling, but this is usually mild and goes away on its own without treatment.
- Sex. Although far more women than men are treated for trichotillomania, this may be because women are more likely to seek medical advice. In early childhood, boys and girls appear to be equally affected.
- Negative emotions. For many people with trichotillomania, hair pulling is a way of dealing with negative or uncomfortable feelings, such as stress, anxiety, tension, loneliness, fatigue or frustration.
- Positive reinforcement. People with trichotillomania often find that pulling out hair feels satisfying and provides a measure of relief. As a result, they continue to pull their hair to maintain these positive feelings.
- Other disorders. People who have trichotillomania may also have other disorders, including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or eating disorders. Nail biting and skin picking have also been associated with trichotillomania.
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