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Plucking Hair, Hearing Voices, Always Cleaning Ear

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I have this behavior of plucking my hair whenever I’m thinking or stressed. Sometimes I pick my scalp that may lead to wounding it. Aside from these, I always clean my ear like I think I do it almost every day. I have been doing these things since I was in high school. I also catch myself talking to nobody. Like it’s as if I was having a conversation with somebody before catching myself doing this. But there is always a very small chance remembering what I said. My mind is always messy. I can’t understand what I read unless I read it twice or thrice. Today, I feel like so isolated and messy. I can’t even understand what I’m feeling now. I don’t want to think that this is depression or what. I just want to understand myself. Thank you.

Plucking Hair, Hearing Voices, Always Cleaning Ear

Answered by on -

A.

Regarding the plucking of your hair, you might be describing a nervous habit or it may be trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is a mental disorder that involves an irresistible urge to pull hair out of the skull, eyelashes and eyebrows. You didn’t mention the latter two but you do pull hair out of your skull. The hair pulling is often triggered by anxiety and stress. People with this disorder often do it even though they know they are harming themselves. You mentioned that you know that you wound your head by pulling out your hair. It’s also possible that your hair will stop growing back leaving behind bald spots (if that hasn’t already happened). This is why some people describe this disorder as an impulse control disorder. It’s the idea that you know it’s wrong but you can’t stop yourself from doing it.

Sometimes, the anxiety about not being able to stop also causes more anxiety. The cycle can continue in the absence of treatment. Some researchers believe that trichotillomania is related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Both disorders involve obsessive and compulsive thoughts and actions and may be caused by the same underlying anxiety issues or chemical misfiring in the brain. Some people can pull their hair for years without fully realizing what they’re doing. It’s not as if they don’t know what is going on but they may not realize how much of a problem it has become.

There is no disorder that I am aware of associated with constant cleaning of the ear but you may be doing it for the same reasons you are pulling your hair. Underlying anxiety may be causing you to engage in these activities compulsively.

Regarding talking to yourself, that is a relatively common thing. I don’t necessarily believe this is a problem unless it is connected or caused by these other issues you have described. I would need to know more about how often it occurs, the content of the conversation, whether or not you’re doing it without realizing it, and so forth. More information would be necessary in order to determine if it’s a problem.

You described your mind as being messy, that you can’t remember things, and that you feel isolated. It makes sense that you would be feeling this way. It could be depression and/or anxiety. The two commonly co-occur. It would be best for you to have an in-person evaluation with a mental health professional. They would be in the best position to know what’s wrong and to recommend treatment.

If trichotillomania is part of the problem, it is highly treatable as are your other symptoms. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health disorders in the world and have some of the best treatments available. The problem is that many people often refuse to seek treatment for a variety of wrong reasons. With the right help, and your commitment to getting better, you can expect a positive outcome. If you’re unwilling to seek help, it’s possible that these problems will continue and potentially worsen. It’s ill advised to avoid seeking help when good treatments are available. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Plucking Hair, Hearing Voices, Always Cleaning Ear

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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. (2020). Plucking Hair, Hearing Voices, Always Cleaning Ear. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 9, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/06/14/plucking-hair-hearing-voices-always-cleaning-ear/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Jun 2020 (Originally: 14 Jun 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 13 Jun 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.