New Mom
Creative Commons License photo credit: rachaelshapiro

Mothers today have access to a lot of medical information, thanks to the Internet.  Yet even with ubiquity of material on the web, sometimes there can be a surprising scarcity of resources.  Especially with a condition like trichotillomania.

Trichotillomania is a disorder in which people compulsively pick, often targeting eyelashes, eyebrows or the hair on their head.  It affects 3 – 5 percent of the population, yet there isn’t an abundance of good scientific information available on the subject.

Okay, mom, since you’re searching, we won’t disappoint.  Here are 5 things mothers don’t know about trichotillomania.

1. Trichotillomania is often caused by a neurotransmitter imbalance. The underlying cause of trich is often an imbalance between the excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters are the little chemical messengers on nerve endings.  They’re ultimately what causes the urge to pull.  You can read about it in more detail in our free report “Why You Can’t Stop Pulling Out Hair.”

2. Most medications will help trichotillomania – but only for a short time. The most common treatment for trich is to prescribe antidepressant drugs.  These will trick the body into believing there is proper neurotransmitter balance, but eventually the trick will backfire and the overall supply of neurotransmitters will actually decrease.

3. Cognitive behavior therapy will work, but it usually needs some help.  Once the urge to pull is reduced, cognitive behavior therapy can be most effective.  It faces an uphill battle if you try and use it without addressing the underlying neurotransmitter imbalance.

4. Sometimes you can overcome the urge to pull quickly. Parents bracing for a long, grueling recovery with trich can take some comfort in the fact that many people who restore proper neurotransmitter balance actually find the urge to pull goes away rather quickly – sometimes in a matter of weeks.

5. You need to beat the urge to pull and the habit that goes with it. Restoring the balance to your neurotransmitters can reduce the urge to pull, but the recovery doesn’t end there for trich sufferers.  For many, pulling hair out has become a  habit, and usually it requires some form of cognitive behavior modification to help you break it.

The abundance of medical information on the Internet is one of the blessings of the digital age.  It can also be one of the curses.  You’ve just learned a few facts that might not have been easily discovered only five or ten years ago.