How Do You Define Someone With Trichotillomania?

Original Post: 12/4/2015

Updated: 12/28/2016

I’ve spent a lot of time on which is how I stumbled upon the surveys conducted by healthcare specialists. I’ve been focusing so much on helping others that I didn’t think to help those trying to find the root cause, so I chose to take as many surveys as I could. I answered “Strongly disagree” to almost 98% of the questions that had a negative connotation, which prompted me to contact the survey admin – we’ll call her Rachel.

I shared my concerns with Rachel. I asked her: how is it that someone who answers “strongly disagree” to a majority of the questions, had a normal upbringing and a genuinely positive outlook on life, can still suffer from Trichotillomania? Here’s her response:

Hi Lauren,

Thank you for participating in my survey, it sounds like the survey raised some interesting questions about trich. Particularly the one you mentioned whereby is possible to compulsively pull hair and have a happy full life. Through my research and running support groups for trich in Australia I have met many individuals who have good self-esteem and a general healthy outlook on life but also experience trich. So yes, I have encountered people who feel the same way as you; but I have also met individuals whose quality of life is shattered by trich. This is what makes trich such a complex disorder to understand, because individuals can experience it in a different ways. Your other question, how is it that someone with a generally positive outlook on life experiences trich; is more difficult to answer. There is a trend in the literature focusing on biological contributions, and one’s individual biology may influence how it is experienced. However, researchers are working on this, and it may be a while before we are able to pinpoint the exact mechanism.

How do you define someone with Trichotillomania? That’s the problem: we can’t… not just yet.


2 thoughts on “How Do You Define Someone With Trichotillomania?

  1. I completely agree with you, there is no way to completely identify a person with trichotillomania but that’s partly what’s great about the community. Everyone accepts each other for who they are instead of what they’re struggling with ie trichotillomania. It means we have such a range of different people, stopping us from isolating someone just because they’re not struggling in this specific way or they don’t have this particular past. I absolutely love that.

    Although, I do see the frustration in not having something simple and attainable to overcome like so many other disorders have. But that also means we don’t limit ourselves in our ability to tackle the problem at the root cause, something which is individual to you or I.

    Do you have a link to these questionnaires by any chance? I would love to participate if it helps us come closer to finding common traits between those who suffer with trich. 😊


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