When I was 8 years old I developed a bad habit of pulling out my eyelashes and ripping out my bangs…it is now 11 years later and I still suffer from pulling out my eyelashes…I cannot stop. I’ve tried everything. It feels so satisfying and when I pluck out each eyelash I rub it against my lip and it feels very soothing to me. I hide the bare patches with eyeliner. I’m embarrassed and I really want to stop. When I was little my mom used to send me to school with all of my fingers wrapped in bandages so I couldn’t pick them out. I don’t pull out my hair as much just my eyelashes. I have a lot of anxiety. Im just a very nervous and anxious person. I’m wondering if I have trichotillomania and how do I get help?

A: It does sound like trichotillomania. This is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. There are a number of websites that offer information and treatment options.

There are some medicines that are helpful for at least some people. The treatment that seems to work best is a combination of medicine and therapy for habit control. You are motivated to stop so you may well be able to shake the habit or at least limit it. I hope you will seek out a therapist who has experience with OCD and give it a try.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie