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Question
Posted by: Hair puller | 2004/02/09

Anxiety and pulling hair

A friend of mine has a very annoying habit. Whenever she gets upset or anxious she pulls at her hair continuously. Not just twirling it around but actually pulling it out!!! She doesn't even realise she's doing it.

This is freaky. What can she do to stop it.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear hp,
Actually this isnt an awfully uncommon bad habit, and can usually be effectively treated by a psychologist --- rather like nail-biting ( so long as it's their own nails they're biting !) So her best bet would be to see a shrink.
On her own, somethings which can help are (a) find something else to do with her wandering hands, like worry beads or something else, inocent, to fiddle with ; and (b) wear gloves or mittens which make it hard to do, and remind her when she starts unthinkingly to do it.

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Our users say:
Posted by: sm | 2004/02/10

I have been doing this since I was a small girl and my parents divorced and I am now 42. The more worried and anxious I become the more I pull. Some people get ulcers and things, but we pull. It is freaky, I agree and I wish that I could stop but it has become a bad habit now, like smoking! I go for months without pulling and my hair starts looking good - then something happens and I pull. Dont mock your freind. Gently tell her when she is doing it and tell her to stop it - make a big thing of it and she is going to do it even more.

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