Disclaimer: I’m not a licensed doctor or psychologist. The following advice is based off personal experience and self education. Choose your options at your own discretion.
There isn’t a “one size fits all” treatment for Trichotillomania. The disorder is a common denominator among all who suffers, but some options may or may not work depending on who you are. Nonetheless, there’s an answer for everyone. There are several avenues you can take that’ll aid in your recovery:
- Discuss the problem. Sounds simple, yet it’s probably the toughest choice to make. I held mine in for 8 years before finally opening up to my family and friends in fear they’d think I’m a “freak” and mentally unstable. Turned out they were incredibly supportive, that it was actually me who had a hard time understanding my own condition. Tell someone you trust, whether it be a friend or family member, and don’t withhold details. They’ll never fully understand what you are going through, but their support and love will help wipe away a lot of shame you’ve tucked away and encourage you to become more proactive in your journey to get help.
- Join a support group. If you’re uncomfortable telling someone you know, you can join a support group on Facebook or online anonymously. Support groups are a great way to meet like-minded individuals who can directly relate to your struggles and who are there for the same reason as you: to get better. Check out this list of online support groups.
- Attend a meeting for addictive behavior. My counselor suggested this option, so I felt it necessary to share. Surprisingly, these meetings aren’t limited to those struggling with substance abuse. I discovered Smart Recovery while doing some research, which conducts meetings both online and in person.
- Seek professional help. There’s a reason behind your Trich behavior; uncover it. If you feel you can’t conquer it on your own, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or a psychiatrist. Most licensed professionals are non-judgmental and will help you sift through what’s truly causing you to pull. They’ll also provide you with treatment options depending on the severity of your habit. If you find your psychiatrist or doctor isn’t understanding, actively seek a different one. Don’t let one bad egg tarnish your goals.
- Medication. Licensed professionals will prescribe you anti-depressants or mood levelers to help you control your urges and treat the underlying cause of your pulling. Please note that there’s a grey area with this approach. I took an anti-depressant for over a year, now I no longer need them and no longer pull. However, I’ve read stories from others who claim medication didn’t help and they resorted back to pulling once they were off them. Again, this is contingent on how severe your problem is, but the earlier in life you try, the better. Talk to your doctor and see what the best option is for you.
- Therapy. This is deemed the most successful form of treating Trich. I highly recommend therapy, especially if you’re taking medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – or Habit Reversal Training (HRT) – will teach you to become more consciously aware of what triggers your hair pulling and teach you positive, alternative behaviors in response to said triggers. Ask your doctor to refer you to a facility near you.