Is There A Cure for Trichotillomania?
People with compulsive hair pulling disorder want a cure for trichotillomania. Those suffering from the disorder can (and do) get better with trichotillomania treatment. Regarding an actual cure for trichotillomania, it depends on how you define the word "cure".
How to Cure Trichotillomania
Doctors don't know how to cure trichotillomania in the same way they can cure strep throat by prescribing certain antibiotics. Typically, people with strep throat or a bacterial skin infection become cured after a course of antibiotics. In this case, "cured" means there's no more disease present in the person. While patients can experience relief from trichotillomania symptoms that approaches a "cure", using current therapeutic techniques, no true cure for trichotillomania exists.
If No Cure for Trichotillomania Exists, What Can I Do?
Depending on the level of disorder and intensity of trichotillomania symptoms, some people can find relief through self-help and alternative medicine approaches to treatment. Some of the self-help remedies for trichotillomania include:
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and full body relaxation. These can help you resist the urge to pull when you first begin to feel it.
- Join a support group especially for people with the disorder.
- Enlist the help of family members by asking them to alert you when you unconsciously pull your hair.
- Learn what situations and events trigger your hair pulling so you can avoid them or manage your urges better.
- Participate in creative hobbies that require you to use your hands. Some studies show that keeping the hands busy can reduce the urge to pull hair.
If you have a very mild level of trichotillomania, these techniques may provide relief, but nothing can replace professional help. A trained mental health professional will assist you in developing new thought and behavior patterns so you can better cope with the feelings and urges that arise during certain situations or events. Self-help techniques, such as those above, work best as a way to maintain the progress you receive in professional therapy. You'll likely always need to remain acutely aware of triggers and urges, even in the event that you don't engage in hair pulling for long periods of time.
Last Updated: 17 March 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD