Original Post: 12/4/2015
I’ve spent a lot of time on http://www.bfrb.org 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:
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.