What is the true cause of trichotillomania aslo known as severe obsessive compulsive hair pulling?
  • By Team TDO

The cause of trichotillomania is unclear. But like many complex disorders, trichotillomania probably results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Also, abnormalities in the natural brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine may play a role in trichotillomania. While the underlying biology is not clearly understood at this time, we do know that people with trichotillomania generally have a neurologically based predisposition to pull their hair as a self-soothing mechanism. The pulling behavior serves as a coping mechanism for anxiety and other difficult emotions. It does not hurt and they are not trying to damage themselves. While the average age of onset is 11, trich can be found in children as young as one year old. Onset of trich can be triggered by simple sensory events, such as itchy eyelashes, or by stressful life events, and it can occur quite suddenly. For example, it may be a tingling feeling that can only be relieved by pulling. ny relief that comes with hair pulling usually only lasts for a moment. The urge almost always returns. That's because when the mind becomes used to giving in to the powerful urges that go with compulsive behaviors, the behavior is reinforced, and then becomes a habit. The mind gets trapped in a cycle of expecting to have the urge satisfied. The longer this goes on, the harder it can become to resist the urge.

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