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Currently for the past year in a half I have noticed that I am pulling out certain hairs. It started out as pulling out the damaged, extra wiry hairs, but it has also lead to other hairs being pulled. I normally find myself doing this on the top of my scalp and behind my left ear. But I can’t seem to stop myself from doing it. I could be reading a book and pulling out little hairs, or I could be eating. But my family members just think its an OCD, but I’m wondering is it Trichotillomania ?


Answered by on -


Trichotillomania (TTM) is a hair-pulling compulsion that is similar to the compulsions seen in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Studies suggest that there is considerable overlap between the two disorders. Some researchers have even suggested that TTM be classified as a type of OCD.

Though there are similarities between the two, there are differences. For instance, people with TTM report having an irresistible urge to pull out their hair whereas people with OCD engage in particular behaviors because of their obsessive thoughts.

Also, OCD symptoms tend to progress over time whereas people with TTM usually only engage in hair pulling behavior and don’t typically progress to other types of rituals or behaviors.

Despite their differences, both are anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are treated with medication and psychotherapy. Behavioral modification therapy might be particularly effective for TTM.

What’s most important is treating your symptoms sooner rather than later. Ask your parents to assist you in seeking help. It’s always important to seek professional help, especially when you feel that you can’t help yourself. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle


Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Trichotillomania?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.