ABC Medical Center > Trichotillomania

What is Trichotillomania?

21:56 - 4 May , 2021


It refers to an obsessive-compulsive disorder that consists of pulling, twisting, and even plucking hair, causing hair scarcity in certain areas, notably affecting its appearance. Sometimes, the person may pull their eyebrows, eyelashes, and body hair out due to this impulse to try to calm anxiety or anguish. It is an impulse similar to that of biting your nails.

The act of pulling out the hair is voluntary, but the person cannot control this impulse, causing hair loss and bald spots that can cause shame or guilt.

This condition occurs more frequently in women during childhood or early adolescence, often damaging the minor’s self-esteem as they are teased due to their hair’s appearance.

Trichotillomania is classified as:

  • Automatic: when there is no awareness that the hair is being pulled.
  • Focused: when there is an intention to do so.

Signs and symptoms Trichotillomania

This pathology is notorious when there are areas with little capillary density or with signs of baldness, or when we realize that the child is pulling out its hair in front of us. However, it can sometimes be difficult to detect, but the characteristic symptoms consist of:

  • Twisting and stretching of hair with fingers.
  • There is tension before doing it.
  • There is a post-activity pleasure.
  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Swallows the hair pulled out (trichophagia).
  • Shows other self-harm disorders.
  • Denies pulling out its hair.

Hair pulling is usually chronic, so this disorder requires specialized care, mainly because when the hair grows back it can cause itching and trigger anxiety or anguish, which can make it even more difficult to stop pulling it.

Diagnosis and treatment Trichotillomania

If you realize that your child may suffer from trichotillomania by recognizing the symptoms, you should see a mental health specialist, who will perform a physical and clinical evaluation to recognize if the pull is focused or automatic, as well as the reasons why it does it and when it does it.

Treatment will depend on the onset of symptoms, the duration of the problem, the location of the lesions, the evolution of the pathology, and the presence of other mental health disorders. But it will usually consist of:

  • Antidepressants.
  • Anxiolytics.
  • Psychotherapy.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy to reverse the habit, which consists of:
  • Sensitization.
  • Stimulus control.
  • Competitive response.

At the Neurological Center, a select group of highly trained and certified doctors in the various neurological specialties are ready to assist you with the quality and warmth that characterizes us.

Our mission is to provide you with comprehensive and multidisciplinary care programs for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of nervous system diseases, always focusing our activities on your safety.


  • childmind.org
  • topdoctors.es
  • mayocilinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • msdmanuals.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Jaramil lo-Manzur SC, Landeta-Sa AP, Escandón-Pérez S, et al. Tricotilomanía asociada a plica polónica: una entidad poco reconocida. Reporte de un caso y revisión de la literatura. Dermatología Cosmética, Médica y Quirúrgica. 2021;19(2):169-173.
  • Puebla-Miranda M, Gálvez-Juárez Y. Tricotilomanía y sus hallazgos por dermatoscopia. Rev Hosp Jua Mex. 2017;84(4):226-228.
  • Mariana SM, Navarro TC, Torre AC, et al. Rol de la tricoscopia en el diagnóstico de un caso de tricotilomanía. Med Cutan Iber Lat Am. 2016;44(1):60-63.
  • Pliego-Ochoa AD, Escalante-Ayuso E, Mendez-Pérez ER. Síndrome de Rapunzel con doble tricobezoar. Reporte de caso. Cir Gen. 2019;41(3):217-220.

How can we help you?

    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.