I’m tearing my hair out

Dear Suzie, i have trichotillomania, have researched it, but can’t stop.  please help.


Trichotillomania, or tearing out and sometimes eating your own hair, is a recognised behaviour pattern. We don’t always know why people do it but it is often due to unresolved issues such as stress or loss or grief or anger or guilt. As such, the best support and help would be some sort of talking therapy – counselling or psychotherapy.

 You say you’ve researched it but have you seen a doctor? If not, do. Your doctor will be able to help. If you did and he or she offered you counselling and you recoiled, feeling it was an insult or that you could manage on your own, please be reassured that it was the right suggestion, and no reflection on you or your abilities. Difficult issues do often need professional support if they are to be put to rest, especially if you have no idea what it might be that is affecting you.

 Be further reassured that if you went into therapy, the process would always be in your control. You may be scared in case it ran away with you and that deeply buried issues you don’t want to consider could burst out and overwhelm you. Well, your unconscious mind is giving you a pretty clear ‘heads up!’ that it wants this brought out in the open; not talking doesn’t mean it will go away.

 If your doctor hadn’t suggested therapy, go back and ask for it. Uncovering why you do this will help you deal with the underlying issues so the reason can be dispatched, and while you are doing so you may be able to work out some coping strategies to limit the behaviour until the reason for it is gone. If your doctor won’t help, contact the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy who can suggest a counsellor in your area. You can ring them on 0870 443 5219 or write to BACP, BACP House, 35-37 Albert Street, Rugby, Warwickshire CV21 2SG or go to www.bacp.co.uk. Good luck!


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