Why is trichotillomania (hair pulling) not as addressed in the self harm community?
Last Updated: 01/21/2020 at 12:10pm
Halayma Khatun, M.A Theology(U.K, UAE), Diploma With Distinction in Counseling, Certification trauma abandonment
Compassionate, patient, experienced depression counselor. I use Psychodynamic counseling techniques. My counseling experience is +8 years, I counsel women.
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I believe there is a stereotype surrounding the term "self harm" that means people often associate it with just cutting and do not realise that it includes anything that is destructive to oneself, which sadly results in conditions such as trichotillomania receiving less support than it should.
Actually I think it should be. People who struggle with trich are often looking for that tiny rush of adrenaline released with the hair pull. But the truth is it's a little different. Trich has an obsessive-compulsive side associated with OCD which mainstream self harm doesn't have.
It absolutely should be. My sister has suffered from trichotillomania, so I know first-hand that it is a real issue. It is not as prominent as other types of self-harm, but it is valid and those who deal with it in their lives should be supported.
I think the general image people have, when thinking of self harm, is that of someone cutting or perhaps burning themselves, meaning these things are more likely to come up in discussion. Trich is also, I suppose, a less common form of self harm so there are fewer posts about it as fewer people have experience with or reach out in need of support for it. By no means though is it a less important or difficult issue than other forms of self harm.
The reason that this condition is not considered "self harm" is because this condition is more of an anxiety disorder such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. However, It is a condition that causes physical pain to ourselves...So if you wanted to label it as self harm, I'm sure you could but the question is do you pull your hair because it's a compulsion? or is it to feel physical pain? That is the best answer for you.
I think that hair pulling might not be as addressed in the self harm community because it doesn't seem as urgent or as life threatening as, say, cutting. However, it's still a real method of self-harm and bald patches can negatively affect your life just as much as scars, even if over-plucking probably won't kill you.
I think it has to do with the fact trichotillomania is an anxiety disorder, and compulsive. This makes the way to heal from trich a bit different from healing from self-harm. I think it's also a less common form of self harm, for instance I read less about bone-breaking, strangling, and the insertion of objects in the self-harm community than i do cutting and burning because those 3 types are less common than cutting and burning so fewer people are seeking support for that or sharing their stories about that. That said, I should hope self-harm communities would be very open to hearing from someone with Trich and try hard to help research ways for them to try to heal, if that was desired.
I think most people consider and recognise the main forms of self harm, e.g. cutting, bruising etc. That sometimes we forget the less recognisable but still used as a method of self-harm for some individuals.
That's a really great question. I think it comes from a lack of awareness. I think a lot of people don't know what tric is, or if they do, categorize it as something separately. It would be a great conversation to start though!
It is actually, but trichotillomania is classified as an anxiety disorder first and foremost. Hair puling can be painful, but self harm generally refers to cutting or other forms of self-mutilation. But it is addressed in the self harm community, at least of 7 Cups.
I'm not sure. I suppose it should be addressed considering it's doing damage to your hair and scalp. It may not be addressed in the self harm community as regularly because people usually don't think of trichotillomania when self harm is mentioned.
I believe that trich is classified as an impulse control disorder or a body-focused repetitive disorder. So it has both OCD-like components and some aspects of self harm, so it's not as centrally related to the most common types of self harm.
Perhaps it is not so addressed because it may not be the most common form of self-harm. I am sure that is important for those in the self-harm community to recognize it though as people do engage in this. Maybe you can be the one to bring more awareness to others?
I know that as a child I used to pull out my hair when I was nervous, stressed, etc, and that was my first actions of self harm. I didn't realize it as a child but now that I'm older I understand. I can understand why it is not as addressed in the self harm community as it is not a conventional way to self harm, but it is still considered one. Not many people turn to hair pulling, but people who do are very inconspicuous about it. People should be more aware of the different kinds of self harm, especially the ones that are brushed under the rug (such as this).
I think people tend to consider it more as a symptom of anxiety. I have a problem with this and I don't consider it to be a form of self harm, more a result of my anxiety which I struggle to control.
It should be addressed, I think because there are not that many people on the website who have it, they don’t address it. We should address as many self harm issues as possible (hair pulling included). It is hard to deal with it and I understand. We should even having tips on the website on how to deal with hair pulling but because the website is still improving, we might not have it yet. There are a lot of mental issues to address. It is hard to address all of them. But in the future it will probably be addressed.
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