This blog is a guide to you on how to stop trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is the compulsion to pull out one’s hair repeatedly, repeatedly. Early adolescence often marks the beginning of this psychological disorder, which can last a lifetime.
Many people withdraw socially for fear of judgment due to the behavior that causes physical and emotional distress. This hair pulling disorder cannot be cured, but it can be managed successfully. The ideal way to stop trichotillomania is through body-focused repetitive behavior therapy. The following article discusses ten ways to cope hair pulling.
Read: Excoriation Disorder
10 tips to stop trichotillomania
1. Identify the trends in pulling behavior
Effective treatment begins with increasing awareness. Pulling behavior can be identified by tracking patterns. The following information can be recorded in a hair pulling journal for every time you pull your hair:
- When the episode occurs.
- Where you pull your hair.
- What is the duration?
- What does it feel like?
- When does it end?
- What does it feel like after you’re done?
Make a note of everything you do for a week or two, and then review your findings.
2. Identify triggers
Triggers are cues that occur right prior to pulling, either internal or external. Physiological and emotional states are examples of internal triggers. Environmental cues include people, places and things. The tendency to pull behavior trends as well as triggers is often a pattern. It can be easy to identify some triggers, while others are harder to pinpoint.
When people pull their hair, they are often affected by anxiety and stress, for example. Individuals experience hair pulling differently, but some feel relief after pulling their hair to calm stress and anxiety. For others, hair pulling is a way to relieve anxiety and stress. There are still those who are triggered by imperfections and feel compelled to correct them. These people aren’t satisfied with their results.
It isn’t necessary to know the reason for pulling behavior to change it. Avoid judging triggers when identifying them. These exercises can be thought of as scientific investigating yourself. It is important to identify the triggers so that you can retrain your body to respond healthier to them.
Read: Lip Biting
3. Practice mindfulness
It refers to focusing attention on the present moment and acknowledging one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. Mindfulness aims to improve one’s self-awareness and reduce self-recrimination. You can learn how to practice mindfulness on the internet.
4. Confront negative emotions and thoughts
Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings while practicing nonjudgmental awareness helps you recognize negative automatic ones that precede or follow hair pulling behaviors. If they are identified, then they can be dealt with. It is best to work through challenges with a therapist, but you can become adept at disputing negative feelings or thoughts by writing them down and refuting them consciously.
You can learn to manage hair pulling behaviors by writing down how you feel and then reframing it as: “I can learn to manage hair pulling behaviors.”
5. Separate from the behavior
You are not defined by your trichotillomania. You are defined by a lot of things other than your compulsive behavior. It happens, but it’s not you. Take the time to write about yourself without mentioning trichotillomania. How would you describe your personality? Do you have any hobbies? What do your loved ones think of you? Write this list down for future reference.
Read: Cheek Biting
6. Create competing responses
Through Habit Reversal Training (HRT), people are taught to take steps that make pulling their hair difficult or impossible. It’s possible, for example, to keep one’s hands busy doing something else while using their hands. Clenching your fists and holding onto them tightly when urges arise, sitting on your hands, using fidget or stress devices or wearing gloves are some examples.
7. Create stimulus controls
Creating an environment where it is impossible to pull hair is another HRT technique. Those who pull their hair at home may do so in places that trigger them. They may also pull their hair only when they are alone. Whenever possible, these people should avoid being alone at home and could move the trigger to a location that would make pulling difficult or impossible.
8. Interrupt habits with tools
You need your hands to pull hair, so why not alert yourself when they are ready? HabitAware developed wearable technology that alerts you when your hands are reaching for your hair.
9. Connect with others
If you’re interested in learning from others, receiving encouragement from others, and boosting your confidence through helping others, join support groups online or in-person to stop trichotillomania.
10. Celebrate victories
You should reward yourself for accomplishments regardless of how big or small they are. One of the first things you might celebrate is finishing this article.
It is important to seek professional help if you or someone you know struggles with mental health problems. We can help you find expert resources for mental health recovery in your community. To find out more, please contact us today.