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OCD and Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania)


Like BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder), deep insecurities that become attached to our appearance and attractiveness can lie at the heart of this problem.

The hair holds a special place relating to innate attractiveness. Comparable to plumage, manes etc. in other animals, it reflects health and vibrancy.

Most men don't want to be bald and will do anything to delay or disguise it. Women 'fiddle' with their hair when flirting and constantly adjust it when they feel insecure about their appearance. Both sexes spend a considerable amount of effort to get their hair 'just right'.


Pulling at hair is similar to the 'picking at our self' seen in skin picking – it reflects our feelings of 'something wrong with me' and 'something not quite right'.

Adjusting our hair in order to be 'right' and picking at it 'for not being right' become related.

Linked to innate personal need for attraction and society's endless pursuit of it, hair coming out and going bald becomes associated with our self-value. The more we feel bad the more we pull our hair, and the more that comes out the more we feel bad.

It becomes obsessive as the adjusting, picking, and pulling, rather than alleviating our insecurity, just makes it worse. So the obsession increases and pulling hair transforms into ever more intricate rituals such as: pulling out single hairs, sucking or eating them or eating the root.

Becoming more and more complicated, these procedures do provide some element of comfort but ultimately never provide a real answer to our feelings of insecurity.


Read more about:-

•  OCD and Compulsions
•  OCD and Obsessions
•  OCD and Rituals
•  Understanding Anxiety and OCD

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Trichotillomania:

The defining characteristic is the recurrent, compulsive pulling of the hair out at the root from places like the scalp, eyebrows, or eyelashes.

(from OCD-UK)

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