Last Modified on Feb 17, 2015
What Is Trichotillomania?
A somewhat difficult to understand disorder, Trichotillomania is characterized by an individual's irresistible urge to pull out the hair from his or her body including the scalp, eyebrows and other parts of the body. Known medically as trichotillomania, hair pulling often results in large patchy or bald spots. Even though the disorder is obsessive, affected individuals generally attempt to cover the habit and disguise areas from which they have pulled.
The signs and symptoms of trichotillomania are fairly straightforward. The characteristic symptom of the disorder involves the repeated pulling out of the hair from any part of the body paired with the urge to do so and a resulting relief after having pulled. Signs of the disorder include patchy bald areas on the scalp or other parts of the body and sparse or missing eyebrows or eyelashes. Additionally, individuals may exhibit other paired behaviors such as chewing or eating the hair that has been pulled out, playing with the pulled hair or rubbing the pulled hair across the lips or face. Individuals generally tend to pull in private and attempt to hide the results of their pulling.
While the cause of hair pulling disorder has not been identified, it is generally believed that trichotillomania arises as a result of several factors. Genetic and environmental issues are typically considered responsible for causing trichotillomania; however, irregularities in the typical chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine, may contribute to hair pulling disorder.
Natural Trichotillomania Treatment
While hair pulling is often considered an impulse control disorder, the underlying factors complicate the matter. Nonetheless, many natural treatment options are available that can facilitate treatment of the disorder and offer relief from its symptoms. Apple cider vinegar is a natural detoxifying agent that eradicates any underlying health issues that may be contributing to the disorder. Candor and n-acetyl cysteine are also helpful for treating hair pulling. Additionally, changing one's diet to avoid sugar and processed goods helps treat any comorbid health concerns.
Apple Cider Vinegar
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[YEA] I originally found your website after I did a search for treating my reoccurring sinus infections. I began to take the ACV for a lingering cough after a sinus infection that just wouldn't go away. Immediately I felt like I could breathe better and I began to cough up the mucus in my chest. After a couple of days I noticed something else had changed about me. I've pulled hair out of my head for approximately 25 years and I hadn't pulled my hair out during those two or three days that I had been taking the ACV. It was so far from my mind that I didn't even realize I wasn't doing it! I then began to wonder if it was the ACV and I remembered a few years ago an article written by a man who's daughter suffered from hairpulling. He did some research and believed it was due to her scalp having dermititis...which is a fungus. I started to think that the ACV was getting rid of the fungus on my head, causing me not to pull. I am writing to you today to let you know that it's been three weeks since I've pulled a hair out of my head! This is amazing! I've never gone this long in my life without pulling out my hair, I'm so thrilled. Thank you so much for this miracle cure.
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[YEA] After dealing with hairpulling on a daily basis for 8 years, I have finally found an end to the urge to pull.. I've been pull free for two months now, since I adopted an anti-fungal diet (no carbs, limited fermented foods, lots of meat, veggies, animal fats, lemon) and was put on anti fungal prescription meds by my ND. The urge to pull is completely 100% gone (just as it was for the 18 years before I began to pull), and my hair is growing back beautifully, if slowly.
Some may say that two months of success is too soon to post results, but I have had this experience occur for me in the past... Back in 06, I did the exact same diet/anti-fungal regime, and had the exact same results (no more hairpulling), but I didn't know what was causing the healing to take place.. I had been doing a strict no carb/anti-fungal regimen for 4 months (Doctor Supervised!!), was able to go hat-free after three months. I decided to take a trip overseas to celebrate my success, and after a week of drinking booze, eating carbs/candy, and staying up late, the hairpulling returned with a vengence. It's taken me two and a half years to pull up the courage to embark on this diet/lifestyle again. It can take a tremendous amount of commitment, planning, and resources, but quickly becomes a habit, and the results are sooooo worth it (try to avoid starting the diet during the holiday season... it's really tough to avoid all the treats. I ate some fruit and got a horrible detox rash on my belly). After the initial detox period, the diet is not hard to do, especially if you can wrap your head around Dr. Weston Price's nutritional principles. The slower you transition into the diet, the easier the intial detox will be on you (meaning no trips to the emergency-room with bizarre gastro-intestinal pain). If you drink soda or alcohol, be kind to yourself, and go really really slow. You have more work to do.
My hairpulling started at 18 when I went on birth control pills. my hair fell out in clumps when I ran my fingers through it, and then I just started to coax it out, which developed into trichotillomania. I was on other meds for ADD and depression at the time, as well as having used a copper-based shampoo/conditioner for many years (gave me a weird scalp rash occasionally). I was also living in a moldy dorm room. Never in my life had I pulled out my hair prior to this time, and the bcp seemed to be the catalyst.
Just for comparison, I want to list all the other treatment options I've invested in over the years, which haven't worked: two years of lenient vegetarianism, half a year of veganism, another half a year of raw foodism, 5 years of brain meds, two years of behavioral therapy, 6 years of psychotherapy, two years of neurofeedback, 4 months of neural therapy for tonsils (to treat PANDAS... worked for other stuff, did not help hairpulling), anti-fungal shampoos and coconut oil on the scalp, NAC, TTO, ALA (worsened hairpulling... mercury yeast connection??), sugar, alcohol, kefir and sourdough (Yeasts!)
PANDAS Theory has some weight to it (strep caused tic disorders), but is not the whole picture (for me at least). I probably had varying degrees of Pandas through out childhood, and I'm almost positive that it has been partially responsible for me acting to the bcp's the way I did... Gargling with salt water can help control the urge to pull sometimes, depending on how much sugar I've consumed.
I embarked on the no-carb diet in late october and was completely hairpull-free within two days (before starting on antifungals). After 8 years (give or take)of daily pulling, that is nothing short of a miracle.
So, to recap, hairpulling, for me, seems to be related to a fungal issue on the scalp and elsewhere within the body... google "John Kender and fungus" to see an "experts" view on the issue.(I'm 26... started pulling at 18.)
I hope this isn't too much oversharing, and that it helps someone!
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London, Ontario Canada
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|BETTER BUT NOT CURED (2)||100%|
This is a very interesting thing on hair pulling, It was saying in a study done at the University of Mennesota. They gave half a group N Acetyl Cysteine and half a group placibo, and the half that took the N Acetyl Cysteine after 9 weeks of treatment dramatically reduced and was able to put the breaks on pulling their hair, the only thing they did not say was how much of the N Acetyl Cysteine that they took in the study. anyway this is where you can watch that video www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIrh4yd4Nus
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