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Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

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Trichotillomania

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What Is the Treatment for Trichotillomania? continued...

It might be as simple as making a fist with the hand that they would use to pull out the hair. Therapy can also address any unhelpful thinking that might be adding to the stress that triggers the behavior.

Medication may also be part of the treatment program. A type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) might be useful in helping to curb very intense urges. Atypical antipsychotics such as olanzapine or aripiprazole also may sometimes be used, either alone or in combination with an SSRI.

What Complications Are Associated With Trichotillomania?

Infection, skin damage, and permanent hair loss are possible complications of trichotillomania. The hair loss and skin damage can lead to problems with self-esteem and body image. In extreme cases, some people might avoid social situations in order to hide the hair loss.

Can Trichotillomania Be Prevented?

There is no proven way to prevent trichotillomania, but getting treatment as soon as symptoms start can be a big help. Learning stress management is also a good idea, since stress often triggers the hair-pulling behavior.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 11, 2014
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