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What Is Trichotillomania aka Hairpulling in Children?

Learn about children suffering from trichotillomania aka hairpulling from Dr. Kimberly Williams in this Howcast video.


So trichotillomania is an anxiety disorder. And it's part of an anxiety disorder called obsessive-compulsive behavior. And what happens is the child excessively pulls hair from their body. They may pull hairs from their arms, or their head, their lashes or brows. One thing we notice is that this happens more often when the child is very nervous, tense or stressed about something. It's often hard to detect. Parents will notice that the child may have long sleeves or head coverings to hide the fact that they've been pulling their hair.

One thing that we do know, that the underlying cause does need to be addressed. When a child has such significant anxiety, it becomes functionally impairing. A child may spend hours pulling their eyelashes, and thus, they can't get dressed for school or get homework done. And this is really disruptive in the family. If you suspect that your child is excessively pulling their hair, please seek clinical help. There's so many underlying issues related to this obsessive-compulsive issue of trichotillomania, you do need the help of a professional. It requires therapy and oftentimes medication combinations to help treat.

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