Stress.
Everyone experiences it; everyone also has different ways in dealing with it.
Some people cope by drinking, smoking, overeating, meanwhile, others have a
unique way of dealing with stress. For example, others eat their own hair which
is called trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is defined as an irresistible urge
to pull out one’s hair and was classified as disturbance of impulse control by
Asahikawa Medical College. They have recorded a case of trichotillomania that
was referred to psychiatric ward of Asahikawa City Hospital. It was a teenaged
girl that displays compulsive hair pulling behavior that refuses to go to school
due to her being embarrassed of hair loss in scalp. The girl’s family; her
parents, and older sister has been living with her parental grandmother prior
to her consultation in the hospital. It was then her mother shows irritation
even with slightest things and continually scolding her over small matters. At
the age of 15-years-old she began to manifest the compulsive hair-pulling
behavior. That patient was said to underwent supportive psychotherapy for
8months as initial treatment; however, the initial treatment did not alleviate the
symptoms, a prescribed medicine ‘clomipramine’ at 30 mg/day was given to her.
After taking this medication for 2 weeks that’s where her symptoms began to
abate. Furthermore, it was said that after 4 months of medication the patient
returned to school and took parts on part-time jobs. Healthofchildren.com said
that In America, the total number of people who pull their own hair may be as
high as 11 million. The frequency of trichotillomania was estimated to 2
percent of the general population; it was said that among college that they
surveyed, more than 10 percent of it said that they pull their own hair at some
point though only 1 percent meet the criteria of having trichotillomania. According
to the Office of Rare Diseases of National Institute of Health it states that
trichotillomania is considered a rare disease meaning that less than 200,000
people in the United States are affected by this disorder. It was also stated
that Adult women are diagnosed twice as often with than men. It is dominated by
female who among are preadolescents to young adult with 70 to 93 percent.

According to Mayo
clinic, the cause of trichotillomania is still unclear like any other disorders
it can be probably the results of genetic and environmental factors though
healthofchildren agrees on it they expanded the possible causes of
trichotillomania they believed that causes trichotillomania can be the
explained by psychoanalytical, behavioral, or biological theories. Under the psychoanalytical
theory the significance of trichotillomania occurs in an attempt on resolving a
childhood trauma, which may be common is sexual abuse.  According to this an unconscious unresolved
past conflict might trigger hair pulling. 
Whereas, behavioral theory states that stressful events, such as moving
to another place or a passing of a loved one, or a family conflict preexist of
the onset of hair pulling and that hair pulling begin its course in attempt to
relieve tension caused by the stressful events. The behavior continues further
and becomes habitual; the individual then is not aware of its initial trigger.
And biological theory believes that trichotillomania starts due to
neurochemical imbalance, such as serotonin imbalance. Altered dopamine levels
might also play a role of developing trichotillomania. Genetic factors might
not or might play a role in developing trichotillomania, although a few studies
report that an increased percentage of relative with various psychiatric disorder.

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Trichotillomania
symptoms doesn’t differ from both gender; the common symptoms of it are
repetitively pulling its own hair out that usually ranges from scalp to other
parts of the body, presence of bald spot where hair has been pulled out, having
a feeling of relief, satisfaction, and pleasure after pulling the hair, a sense
of tension before once hair is pulled or when trying to resist pulling once
hair and the presence of other common behaviours, like inspecting the hair
root, pulling hair between teeth, chewing on hair, or eating hair.
Trichotillomania is diagnosed for adult women and men but also adolescents or
children with mean age of preexisting symptoms ranges 9 and 13 and a notable
peak of 12-13 years old.

The
said patients who have trichotillomania is not capable of undergoing treatment
until it’s his or her hair pulling disorder continued for two years. The said
traditional treatment for trichotillomania involves psychological or behavioral
therapy, or even medication. Behavioral modification helps to increase the individuals’
awareness of hair pulling especially the children; it might be simple
acknowledging the problem and instituting a plan of desensitization of
behavior.  Another type of behavioral
therapy was said to be successfully used in treating trichotillomania; Habit
reversal training treatment acquires the patient to have increased awareness of
her or his action and must learn to alter the behavior. Correcting the brain’s
biochemical imbalance by medication is a common component of treatment. Drug
trials for children and adolescents are limited that behavioral therapy is
conducted first, prior to exposure to medication. It was said that behavioral
therapy is more successful in helping persons with trichotillomania that with
drug therapy because in drug therapy they are more open to having relapses when
discontinued. The said drug is called clomipramine in which have believed as
the most successful in treating trichotillomania. They stated that low-dose
clomipramine treatment or the drug treatment resulted in an improvement in
trichotillomania symptoms. Where they observed that efficacy of clomipramine,
an agent known to be effective against obsessive-compulsive disorders, suggests
that trichotillomania and obsessive-compulsive disorder may be common features
in neurochemistry.

To
conclude this essay, trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that might
be the effect of a sudden change of environment or genetics. Individuals with
this disorder have low self-esteem and thinks poorly of themselves; And
isolates themselves from the world even their loved ones’ due to embarrassment
of hair loss. Furthermore, these individuals might be suffering mental illness
other than trichotillomania itself.

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