It’s likely that you play with your hair. Whether you stroke your hair with your hands or twirl it around your fingers from time to time, these gestures are normally innocent. But for some people, harmless habits like twirling and patting their hair can evolve into pulling—a compulsion that may result in visible bald patches.
People that pull out their hair are suffering from a mental disorder known as Trichotillomania (TTM), which affects about two to ten million Americans of various ages, genders and ethnicities.
The causes of TTM are unknown. The way TTM presents itself varies significantly from person to person. Some aren’t even aware they are pulling. For many, hair pulling is a self-soothing mechanism that can help them cope with trauma, anxiety, stress and depression. For others, it can be triggered just by boredom or itchiness.
Although one to two percent of the population is suffering from TTM, it’s not a well-known condition and for this reason, many of its sufferers feel a great amount of shame. While self-inflicted, TTM is still a form of hair loss. People with TTM usually pull enough hair out of their heads to create visible bald spots. Hair Club is sensitive to those dealing with hair pulling disorders and can provide hair replacement options. You can learn more by calling (888) 847-4344.
To raise awareness and encourage people to seek help, Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC)—a national nonprofit devoted to ending the suffering caused by hair pulling— is designating October 1-7 as National Trichotillomania Awareness Week. For more information, watch TLC’s Awareness Ambassador Josie Sanctis (who also happens to be Mrs. North Carolina America 2013) share her story as she tries to raise awareness and help others suffering from Trichotillomania.