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Do I Have Trichotillomania?

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Hi, I am 14 years old, and I have had problems pulling and messing with my hair in a variety of different ways since I was little. I noticed my grandma and mom also did this, I always told them to stop, until I noticed I did it too. I thought this was just a bad habit, until I stumbled across the word Trichotillomania online. I googled what it was and I found myself wondering if I had it. Only, I am not sure if I have it or not. I don’t exactly pull out my hair for the sensation of pulling it out. I pull/tug on the ends of my hair repeatedly to the extent where it tears split ends and as a result hair comes out. I get a weird satisfaction by pulling off my split ends which makes them worse. But, I am not sure if this classifies as Trichotillomania because I don’t notice balding, only minor thinning if that. I guess I mainly like the feeling of my hair getting pulled repeatedly and thats why I do it I am not sure. I have terrible split ends and sometimes the tugging on my scalp gives me headaches, but this doesn’t really match with the definition of Trichotillomania. I am not sure if this is a big deal or not, just multiple people have pointed it out, and I do it constantly. And when I say constantly I mean literally anytime my hands aren’t already doing something. I find myself doing this when I am bored or anxious. And considering I am anxious basically all the time it doesn’t really help.I recently found that playing with small magnetic balls during school helps me not pull. If you could help me identifiy if this is anything to be worried about it would be really helpful. Thanks.

Do I Have Trichotillomania?

Answered by on -


Trichotillomania has a broad range of features — and while it would be impossible for me to diagnose you, I think the fact that you are so concerned and upset is enough to get a professional opinion. By talking to someone in person they can ask questions and examine you directly. A diagnosis is only useful if it provides a way of understanding the symptoms. Right now I would ask your parents to make an appointment with a physician and concern yourself more with information about symptoms, treatment, and support which you can find here.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Do I Have Trichotillomania?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Do I Have Trichotillomania?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 7, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 27 Jun 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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