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Message Board > Other Addictions > Cant Stop Pulling Hair Out (trichotillomania)

Posted by: BlessedJess91 June 29, 2015, 11:30 AM
Awhile ago before I had problems with my health insurance, when I was seeing a psychiatrist and counselor, I was diagnosed with trichotillomania, or "hair pulling disorder". I have known that I have had this for awhile because there was a period in high school where I pulled a spot of my hair out one piece at a time until I had a small bald spot. It is embarrassing yes, but I cant seem to stop. I also pluck my eye brows to the extreme and have been biting my nails down as far as I possibly can ever since I can remember.

I have been struggling with addiction for about 5 years now but I finally got the hang of my recovery and was willing and ready to change my life. I am a recovering heroin addict with 10 months clean. My dad is an alcoholic but he is not in my life anymore because he never seemed to get help and has been in and out of jail. Growing up he was in my life (when he wasn't getting drunk at the bar) and I remember him having SEVERE OCD. Which I am sure I have it somewhat too. But what bothers me is that I cant stop pulling out my hair. I have all these baby hairs that stick up right where I part my hair and it is very noticeable. My hair is long, almost down to my butt and it is probably my favorite part about me physically but I cant stop destroying it. My psychiatrist said its an anxiety thing, that a lot of people do it they just don't like to talk about it. I was trying to find a post on here about hair pulling but I couldn't seem to find one so I thought I would start my own and hopefully help someone else who is feeling alone.

I found a new counselor that accepts my health insurance, going to try to get in to see her maybe just talking to someone will help. I go to NA meetings regularly and have a sponsor and am working my steps but It just seems like the hair pulling keeps getting worse and im not sure what I should or can do and I really don't want to get another bald spot :/ If anyone is going through something similar or has overcame this please help me out I have never talked to anyone with this problem and I would really like to hear some advice.

Thank you for taking the time to read & have a good day all!

Posted by: BlessedJess91 June 29, 2015, 1:58 PM
I think I may have some type of fixation with my hands or something considering I smoke over a pack a day, bite my nails a lot and pull my hair out. I used to think I had an oral fixation because of the nail biting and smoking but now I think I just it has something to do with my hands. Maybe if I can keep my hands busy it will help the urge to want to pull? I can tell that when I get stressed or get anxiety or nervous that I start to get an urge to want to pull but sometimes I don't even realize that I'm even doing it until I look down and notice a pile of hair on the ground. Sometimes I am in a trance-like state where I am staring off into space when I am doing it then I snap back into reality and am pissed at myself to notice what I have been doing for the past 5 minutes.

I have read that some people feel a sense of relief after they pull but I am more mad at myself than anything but its like I cannot stop as much as I want to, which would explain the OCD part of it.. And although I do get angry at myself, somehow it does feel like I am relieving tension on my scalp. I am on Pamelor for migraines which I read online could possibly be effective for this hair pulling disorder but I am also on Topamax for migraines which has been causing hair loss.. every time I shower and brush my hair after I shower for the past few months I have been noticing a lot more hair in my hair brush and in the shower drain which isn't helping my situation because I am getting more discouraged and more stressed out and I feel even more helpless than before.

Its embarrassing and gross and I cant even talk to my boyfriend about it but I am pretty sure he has noticed me doing it from time to time.. I don't have any bald spots, just some fly-away's where I part my hair and a lot of short hairs on the top of my head but it still is pretty noticeable and very embarrassing and hair spray or gels wouldn't do me any justice. Any advice or encouragement would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by: Papa Bear June 29, 2015, 6:48 PM
Hello Jess:

Sounds like you have some "issues" to work on in your recovery as I did (do).

I hope you are discussing these things at the tables with your sponsor and the others.

NA's Step 1 says:
"We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable."
We put the drugs/booze down and we are left with many "unmanageable" things .....
That is the reason for the remaining 11 Steps :0)

Have some faith and patience and keep praying and working your program.
Stick with the good oldtimers and tell them how you are doing.
As time goes by you will be amazed at the things that come around.

The first year is a b****. Lean on the others in your group for help and encouragement.

All the best.

Bob R

Posted by: BlessedJess91 June 29, 2015, 9:28 PM
Yes I have been clean for 10 months and am working my steps with my sponsor but have not shared about this with her or at my home group. I plan to see a new counselor that specializes in substance abuse that I can share this with. I am just so embarrassed and it is hard for me to open up and share something that I am so self conscious about. I have the NA living clean book and it describes something perfectly how the way we feel about ourselves is how we think other people think of us. So I know that I need to work up the courage to share and get some support. My home group is awesome I am just a very shy girl and this is something that I feel is disgusting and embarrassing and I just need to find some other way to deal with the obsession and compulsion and the urge to want to pull. Thanks for listening.

Posted by: Papa Bear June 29, 2015, 9:50 PM
I came to the point where I didn't want to keep any secrets any more.

I asked God to help me get honest and soon the things that I said I would never tell anyone came spilling out. What a relief !!

All the best.


Posted by: BlessedJess91 July 2, 2015, 11:25 AM
I completely forgot to mention that my dad pulls his hair out too, or at least he did, (we don't talk anymore), it got really bad after my mom divorced him, and he has had a drinking problem for years and OCD pretty bad. I remember him having bald spots all over his scalp on the sides above his ears and my sister and I noticed them and at one point because he was always pulling and I remember my sister and I were so shocked when we noticed how bad it was because he was always wearing hats every day even at work and you could see how embarrassed he was by the look on his face and my sister said he should see a doctor and that there is medications he could get on to help him the urges to want to pull.

He used to say he was pulling out his grey hairs, but he would do it so often we caught on to it being a nervous habit. Then I started doing it in junior high and high school, not sure why, just being bored in the classroom I thought. It started as a small spot in one area the very front of my hairline right in the middle, It was noticeable especially when the hair grew back and it was all short, very embarrassing, and once the hair grows back you cant help but to keep pulling it out, as I do now, to not make the short hairs on the top of my head sticking up as noticeable... Kind of like when eyebrows grow back in...

He also washes his hands to the extreme to the point that they crack and bleed. I feel like I get most of my genes from him.. I see a lot of myself in him. It kills me to not have a relationship with him but I feel I am healthier without him right now. I am in recovery and he isn't. He wasn't the greatest father either. But I still love him and I always will. Nothing will change that. He just got really lost in his alcoholism and he has been in and out of jail and I feel like I don't even know who he is anymore. But it would be wrong of me to judge an addict based on what they are like in active addiction. I cant make him better, all I can do is pray and hope he will get better before its too late.

Over 5 years ago he was hospitalized because of liver problems and the doctor told him he was going to die soon if he didn't quit drinking. It just scares me because every day I worry whether I'm going to get another call that has in jail again or that he is dead. Its really sad because I feel like no one in my family understands addiction besides him (even though he is in denial and has been for decades), my sister is a nurse at a drug rehab but she still says that addicts have a choice and she treats me like a total piece of s*** and I'm not going to surround myself with people who don't support me or realize how hard I work every single day to stay clean and how far I've come..

Its not my responsibility to teach my family about my disease I'm sick of them acting like they are the only ones who got hurt and like they are the victims, I know I hurt a lot of people Especially them, but I am a victim too and I think a lot of people forget that addicts did not choose this path. Addicts are a victim of addiction too!.. Parents of recovering addicts, siblings, significant others... they should going out and educating themselves on what addiction really is and what we go through on a day to day basis and how hard this really is. I don't think we get enough credit from our families or even give ourselves enough credit sometimes. Any addict clean for one day is a miracle and I truly believe that. I know this post kind of got off topic but I feel it was all related to my situation and why I do it in one way or another. Thanks for taking the time to read. I know there are people out there who can relate or who have had this problem. Help me to not feel alone :)

Posted by: guitarguy93 March 22, 2016, 2:17 PM
Hi Blessedjess91 i have the same exact problem. except i am male and pull my eyebrow's, eyelashes out. i didnt realize it was a form of addiction. for me its only during low points in my life. when im happy and content with everything i have no problem not doing it. but i completely understand how you feel. i walk around with a big sign on my face that says "whats wrong with that guy" and it sucks. but i've tried taking anti anxiety medication and even tried oil on my eyebrows to make them harder to pull out. but the only thing ive ever had work was what i said earlier.. happiness. i know it sounds strange. but when i had a good job and a nice house, and a good girlfriend everything was great. but as soon as i lost those things i started picking them out again. so the only advice i can offer is try to better yourself first before trying to fix the (tric) problem..

Posted by: Jess88 April 19, 2016, 12:31 PM
Hi I'm hoping that you are still able to see this Jess. I was happy when I saw we had the same name and the same problem. I'm reaching out for advice but this is a old post, how things are well

Posted by: ChicaLee December 21, 2017, 11:23 PM
Hair pulling urge completely gone since I've been on this medication. I take one Buprenorphine/Naloxone sublingual tablet, twice a day; morning and before bed. The dosage is 2mg/0.5mg. I have no other side effects, but the pulling has stopped since I've been on this medication. I got this prescription from an addiction/pain specialist. I'm not necessarily recommending this to anyone, but just telling my experience. I've been pulling out the hair on my scalp for over 50 years.

Posted by: Lean On Me January 1, 2019, 2:30 PM
i do that too. Holidays and a scare w cancer aggravated the pulling. like other diseases there is no “cure” per se. “Negative Nancy” at your service. Haha. I am truly sorry to read the troubles you’ve been through for a long time. I have been pulling my lashes out since age 6. I don’t know the stats on men, women, area etc., but a few meds seem to help. I told my friend one time that I don’t think I have good support system. But I do have a pet, (I’m her kitty mommy). Do you have a nice place to retreat or relax? I am not a licensed help for you. But even though for whatever reason or trigger, I can promise if you all do too. P.S. oops. Very sorry... I mean yeah for no more addictions. yes. I too am in a trance til I am in complete bedtime. Just ask your Dr. ok. If worse comes to worse, google the screaming chameleon on you tube. Yep. I do have a twin...

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Posted by: trich help for each other May 27, 2019, 3:24 PM
Yes, I am still struggling with trichotillonamia. After 45 yrs. I commend folks who have been in counseling and especially newly formed trich groups
with sponsors like they do with AA annonymous.What an idea for more cities to form trich groups. We control what we can. Maybe not always family hurt, but we can DO what makes us happy and talented. I agree it is hard in a small town where everyone knows you . On flip side any disasters means to have you back.thanx.