Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your doctor will perform a thorough evaluation to determine if you have trichotillomania, which may include examining how much hair loss you have, having you fill out a questionnaire and eliminating other possible causes of hair pulling or hair loss. In some cases, your doctor may also take a biopsy of your hair or skin to try to pinpoint the problem.
To be diagnosed with trichotillomania, you must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
DSM criteria for the diagnosis of trichotillomania include:
- Repeatedly pulling out your hair, resulting in noticeable hair loss
- An increasing sense of tension before pulling, or when you try to resist pulling
- Pleasure or relief when pulling
- Your hair loss isn't attributed to another medical or dermatologic condition
- Hair pulling causes you significant distress
There is some debate among mental health providers — and people with trichotillomania — about these criteria, and they may change in the future.
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