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Hair-Pulling Disease

Hair-Pulling Disease Causes

Causes of trichotillomania are still being researched, and no specific causes have yet been found. Causes may include genes and neurochemical problems. Researchers recently reported finding mutations in a specific gene that may give rise to trichotillomania. This mutation may lead to neurons in the brain to develop faulty connections that trigger an urge to pull out the hair.

Hair-Pulling Disease Definition

Trichotillomania (or hair-pulling disorder) is a type of mental illness in which people have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair, whether it's from their scalp, their eyebrows or other areas of their body. Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves them with patchy bald spots on their head, which they may go to great lengths to disguise or cover.

Hair-Pulling Disease Diagnosis

To help diagnose trichotillomania, the doctor will ask questions about the hair-pulling habit, such as frequency, duration and amount of hair loss. The doctor may also check for other related medical problems, such as depression, anxiety or repetitive-strain injuries from repeated pulling.

Hair-Pulling Disease Symptoms and Signs

Signs and symptoms of trichotillomania include: patchy bald areas on the scalp or other areas of the body; sparse or missing eyelashes or eyebrows; chewing or eating pulled out hair; playing with pulled-out hair; and rubbing pulled-out hair across the lips or face.

Hair-Pulling Disease Treatment

Psychotherapy and medications may be used to treat trichotillomania.

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