Actress and activist Sophia Bush sits with experts to get answers to our audience ‘s most pressing questions about today’ s most confusing topics, with an emphasis on the clear facts you need to know.
When I was a sophomore in college, I started putting on my eyebrows… and not the way I was in the ’90s when I wanted to have thin eyebrows like Drew Barrymore and Shannen Doherty. This had nothing to do with trends – it was coercion. The second time I could feel even the slightest growth under my skin, the stinging sensation would send me to spend hours plucking tiny stray hairs – sometimes until they bleed. I later learned that this persistent rubbing was a nervous disorder known as trichotillomania.
“Trichotillomania is a mental disorder characterized by repetitive hair pulling resulting in hair loss,” says Bill Hudenko, PhD, global head of mental health at K Health. For most people who have been diagnosed with hair loss), the disorder is usually associated with a nervous rubbing of the eyelashes or hair from your scalp. [are a common result of the disorder]”, Says hairdresser Penny James from the Penny James Salon in New York. “Hair at the roots is often tufted, tufted by frequent pulling.”
As Dr. Hudenko explains, “To be diagnosed, trichotillomania must cause clinically significant discomfort or loss in social, occupational, or other important areas of function. It is not technically a subset of obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, it is closely connected and has both obsessive and compulsive elements in it “.
Why do not people talk about hair
At a time when depression and anxiety have become more open to discussion, trich is still considered taboo. “You have to understand that people who pull their hair are ashamed and ashamed of their behavior,” says James of her experience with hair loss patients. “They do not like to talk about it or share with people what they do. It is often camouflaged by careful styling tricks or the use of hair powders such as Toppik [colored hair-building fibers]. »
There is debate as to whether trichotillomania is really rare. James insists that people just do not talk about it, while Dr. Hudenko says, “Many people do not officially recognize hair loss as a disorder, but rather consider it just a bad habit.” Although one of the lesser-known nervous disorders, it’s not uncommon — Megan Fox, Olivia Mann, Charlize Theron, and Justin Timberlake have talked about their experiences with the condition.
James has seen a huge rise in hair patients in her office since the pandemic began. She notes that her clients told her that when they work from home, “there is no one around to see them pull their hair.”
With anxiety disorders reportedly increasing by 26 percent in 2020, it makes sense for hair cases to increase as well. “Hair pulling is a calming behavior associated with reducing stress,” Dr. Hudenko says of people who experience hair loss. “They do not find it painful to pull their hair out and experience a reduction in the intensity associated with their behavior.”
Hair symptoms can change over time
As for my own experience, the fixation of my eyebrows changed after a year or two. I have never felt the urge to pull my scalp or eyelashes, but for the past 10 years, the hair on my face has been eating away at me (Dr. Hudenko says it is common for the intensity or position of the hair to change over time). ).
It has nothing to do with appearance, but rather the idea is to feel these prickly hairs as soon as they come to the surface. What I do not think people realize is that like other nervous or ideological disorders, trich is debilitating in itself. Until you get to the point, it’s all you can think about. Having a pair of tweezers by my side at all times is a top priority.
Although treating the disorder can be difficult, Dr. Hudenko notes that many people experience success. “The most common treatments for trichotillomania include a combination of behavioral therapies and psychotropic drugs,” he says. “Typical medications for anxiety or depression, such as SSRIs [which stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors]. »
James agrees, adding that “people with anxiety, depression and body disorder” are more prone to hair loss. He goes on to say: “A relationship with a psychiatrist will be very helpful in controlling the desire to pull hair. “Often, the person who pulls his hair becomes even more obsessed with the amount of hair that has been lost.”
Living with hair
Even AFTER after all completing a complete seven-session laser hair removal cycle, for me, the problem has not really disappeared. Sure, there are far fewer hairs to worry about, but to feel even simpler a makes me sad. I mean I have broken the code to address this issue, but it is still widespread. What I do I have finished is at least to start a discussion around the topic. Like any other “unique” roadblock in life, if I accept it and deal with it, I am one step closer to normalizing it or helping someone else who thinks their condition is “weird”.
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