The name trichotillomania derives from the Greek words: tricho- (hair), till(en) (to pull), and mania.
A diagnosis of trichotillomania is made according to the following criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV):
- Repeatedly pulling out of one's hair, resulting in noticeable hair loss
- An increasing sense of tension immediately before pulling out the hair, or when attempting to resist the behaviour
- Pleasure, gratification, or relief when pulling out the hair
- The disturbance is not better accounted for by another mental disorder and is not due to a general medical condition (e.g. a dermatological condition)
- The disturbance causes clinical distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.