Tag Archives: Trichotillomania

Channel 4’s ‘Embarrassing Illnesses’ and Embarrassing Teenage illnesses have both featured the hair loss conditions Alopecia and Trichotillomania.

More and more worried parents are calling us about their children’s hair loss problem. One lady enquired on behalf of her thirteen year old daughter who was being badly bullied at school because of her patchy hair loss. We know that hair loss is embarrassing anyway but children can be very cruel to each other.

The young girl in question dreads going to school everyday and has told her Mum that she would prefer to die than have to face her bullies. How sad that not only has she got to cope with all the other teenage challenges but her peers are teasing her about something that she can not control?

Children with hair loss problems will shy away from certain activities to avoid bringing attention to their hair – swimming and sleepover would be very difficult. I know one young girl who said she gained a reputation for being a loner so that people would not ask her to stay over and so that she could avoid the inevitable girly conversations about hair. Don’t underestimate the lengths people with a hair loss problem will go to just to avoid a hair conversation.

It is important to find the right cosmetic solution for children with hair loss. Timing is also crucial. A child will not want to go to school one day with patchy hair loss and arrive the next day with a full head of hair. Finding the right solution can make day to day activities much easier. We recommend speaking to an advisor at Lucinda Ellery so we can explain our services. We offer a free of charge consultation for children on the basis that we can offer advice in general and where appropriate, recommend one of our cosmetic options. What we do is not always suitable for younger clients so everyone is seen on a case by case basis to make sure we are right for them.

We appreciate that parents want to make the right choices to help their child.

We get a number of telephone enquiries everyday from people wanting to organise a consultation or from people that want to find out about our services in general.

One client recently enquired with us and she said she was overwhelmed to discover that there was actually a name for her type of hair loss and also that there were other people with the same problem – Trichotillomania. She explained that her call to us was particularly difficult as she had never told anyone the real reason for her hair loss. Her parents had assumed that it was Alopecia and so she went along to various appointments but was never willing to say that her hair loss was a result of hair pulling. I explained to her that we have had similar calls in the past – many of our Trichotillomania clients would have kept their hair pulling a secret. This hair loss type is something we deal with on a daily basis and it is very important to put the caller at ease – imagine having kept something like that to yourself for years and years, I can appreciate that having the conversation with me was quite daunting but the client was happier having taken the plunge.

There is now more information about Trichotillomania on various websites but not everyone uses the net and this lady said she would not have even considered doing a search for hair pulling – she really did think she was the only person that did this. She happened to be reading a colleague’s magazine during her lunch break and there was an article about a client of ours with Trichotillomania in the ‘real life’ section. She stored the info in her head for 6 months before making the call to us.

This lady has now been to see us for a consultation. She had the opportunity to speak to another of our clients with the same problem and she is now focused on getting the help that was recommended. She is having her hair done with us but alongside that she is now having appointments with a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. Talking through the problem with both us and her CBT specialist has been a real positive step forward for her. It would seem that this is a happy ending to a lonely experience.

There was an article in today’s Daily Mail about our client Robina and her experience of living with Trichotillomania. There has been a huge amount of interest from the press in Robina’s story and as a result she is going to be on the ‘couch’ tomorrow morning on GMTV.

Trichotillomania or hair pulling is something that we deal with on a daily basis so we are sure that tomorrow’s program will raise awareness about this little known condition. Robina uses the Intralace System to help her manage her hair pulling and it also gives her a beautiful disguise! The Intralace System has two benefits for our trichotillomania clients – it acts as a physical prevention to hair pulling as well as replacing the hair that is missing. The client feels better because they look better, and their hair gets a chance to regrow.

We often find that following a press article or TV piece that clients are overwhelmed that Trichotillomania is actually much more common than most people think.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may be recommended for people with Trichotillomania. Your GP would advise as to whether or not this would be beneficial in your particular case but it is suggested frequently by the medical profession to help with managing Trichotilomania.

CBT is an Orientation of psychotherapy. It is essentially a talking therapy. The client and therapist work together to understand problems in terms of the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

We have a number of clients who have had CBT to help with their trichotillomania and many have found it hugely beneficial however I appreciate that it is an individual thing but I would be interested to see if anyone has any feedback on this.

There was an article by Jemima Khan regarding Trichotillomania which was printed in the Sunday Times last week. Some clients from Lucinda Ellery were interviewed about their experience of this little known condition.

The article has had a huge amount of interest. There have been calls from ladies of all ages and also a number of calls regarding children with Trichotillomania. In some cases the hair pulling may be from eyelashes and eyebrows only but in most cases the hair pulling affects areas on the scalp. The Intralace System is suitable for clients with TTM as it will replace the hair that is missing as well as act as a physical prevention. The Intralace is not a ‘cure all’ but using it alongside the TTM management skills recommended by Lucinda Ellery can make a big difference to a lot of clients and indeed many clients become pull free and experience full regrowth.

The article in the Sunday Times accurately described how someone with TTM feels and there is a great need for more awareness in schools and within the medical profession. Typically a person with TTM will say that they find it humiliating and perhaps the reason for this is because the problem of TTM is not widely recognised.