Trichotillomania

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Trichotillomania is defined as a self-induced and recurrent loss of hair.[3] It includes the criterion of an increasing sense of tension before pulling the hair and gratification or relief when pulling the hair.[1] However, some people with trichotillomania do not endorse the inclusion of "rising tension and subsequent pleasure, gratification, or relief" as part of the criteria;[1] because many individuals with trichotillomania may not realize they are pulling their hair, patients presenting for diagnosis may deny the criteria for tension prior to hair pulling or a sense of gratification after hair is pulled.[3] Trichotillomania may lie on the obsessive–compulsive spectrum, also encompassing obsessive–compulsive disorder, nail biting (onychophagia) and skin picking (dermatillomania), tic disorders and eating disorders. These conditions may share clinical features, genetic contributions, and possibly treatment response; however, differences between trichotillomania and OCD are present in symptoms, neural function and cognitive profile.[1] In the sense that it is associated with irresistible urges to perform unwanted repetitive behavior, trichotillomania is akin to some of these conditions, and rates of trichotillomania among relatives of OCD patients is higher than expected by chance.[1] However, differences between the disorder and OCD have been noted, including: differing peak ages at onset, rates of comorbidity, gender differences, and neural dysfunction and cognitive profile.[1] When it occurs in early childhood, it can be regarded as a distinct clinical entity.[1] Because trichotillomania can be present in multiple age groups, it is helpful in terms of prognosis and treatment to approach three distinct subgroups by age: preschool age children, preadolescents to young adults, and adults.[3] Trichotillomania is often not a focused act, but rather hair pulling occurs in a "trance-like" state;[4] hence, trichotillomania is subdivided into "automatic" versus "focused" hair pulling.[3] Children are more often in the automatic, or unconscious, subtype and may not consciously remember pulling their hair. Other individuals may have focused, or conscious, rituals associated with hair pulling, including seeking specific types of hairs to pull, pulling until the hair feels "just right", or pulling in response to a specific sensation.[3] Knowledge of the subtype is helpful in determining treatment strategies.[3] [edit]Signs and symptoms

Trichotillomania is usually confined to one or two sites,[1] but can involve multiple sites. The scalp is the most common pulling site, followed by the eyebrows, eyelashes, face, arms, and legs.[3] Some less common areas include the pubic area, underarms, beard, and chest. [5] The classic presentation is the "Friar Tuck" form of vertex and crown alopecia.[6] Children are less likely to pull from areas other than the scalp.[3] People who suffer from trichotillomania often pull only one hair at a time and these hair pull episodes can last for hours at a time. Trichotillomania can go into relapse-like states where the individual may not experience the urge to "pull" for days, weeks, months, and even years.[7] Individuals with trichotillomania exhibit hair of differing lengths; some are broken hairs with blunt ends, some new growth with tapered ends, some broken mid-shaft, or some uneven stubble. Scaling on the scalp is not present, overall hair density is normal, and a hair pull test is negative (the hair does not pull out easily). Hair is often pulled out leaving an unusual shape. Individuals with trichotillomania may be secretive or shameful of the hair pulling behavior.[3] An additional psychological effect can be low self-esteem, often associated with being shunned by peers and the fear of socializing due to appearance and negative attention they may receive. Some people with trichotillomania wear hats, wigs, false eyelashes, eyebrow pencil, or style their hair in an effort to avoid such...
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