Psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be very effective at dealing with the behavioral aspects of trichotillomania and the urges to pull. In fact, many people have found psychotherapy invaluable to help them stop pulling their hair and/or picking their skin by helping them become aware of their impulses and then making a conscious choice about how they can make it harder for themselves to pull. What psychotherapy does not do, at least not for most people, is get rid of the urges to pull. For many people, additional support is needed to do this.
Correcting the “Why Do I Pull My Hair Out?”
For many people, the urges to pull are due to imbalances in neurotransmission that must be corrected in order to get the urges under control. We have found amino acid therapy to be the most effective way to eliminate the urges to pull. Some people also require adrenal support to completely eliminate their urges. We have spoken at length on this site about amino acid therapy, so we’ll focus our energies here on the adrenals.
Adrenal Support and the Urges to Pull
Most people know that the adrenals help us deal with stress. Since stress is also one of the key reasons neurotransmitters can become imbalanced in the first place, it makes sense that supporting a health adrenal response can go a long way to addressing the underlying cause of neurotransmitter imbalance and the urges to pull.
We have found a couple formulas work best for improving the stress response. Adreset is a blend of three adaptogenic herbs – cordyceps, panax ginseng and rhodiola – that help support a balanced adrenal response. It works especially well for those that have been under a lot of stress or under stress for a long time and are starting to feel “burned out.”
In addition, for those that have increased urges to pull with stress, especially if they also feel more anxious and overwhelmed with stressful events, AdreneVive can be added to Adreset (or used on its own) to help calm an over-active adrenal response. This can help people calm down, gain perspective, reduce anxiety and reduce the impact that stressful events can have on health.
Stop Pulling Hair With or Without Psychotherapy
Once the underlying neurotransmitter imbalances have been corrected and the adrenals are properly supported, most people experience a dramatic improvement and/or elimination in their urges to pull, allowing them to stop pulling their hair and/or skin.
If they continue to pull due to habit or circumstance, psychotherapy can now be a big help. Even if a person didn’t find psychotherapy to be useful in the past, it will likely be so at this point now that the biochemical reasons for the urges to pull have been corrected. What is left is to work on changing behavior, and this is where psychotherapy can help to eliminate the habit of pulling and allowing a person to make the behavioral changes necessary to stop pulling once and for all.