Posted by: hair puller | 2006/10/30

medicine for compulsive hair pulling?

Please give advice if you can- I am a compulsive hair puller. Ever since I was young I have pulled my hair out. If I'm not pulling it out, I'm twisting it and snapping it off. I do this both in happy and in sad stressful times. I do not have any other nervous habits.

Question # 1: will my young daughter learn this habit from me? I am horrified she might and I don't want her to suffer this fate. I try really hard no to touch my hair when I'm around her but I know I do it absent mindedly.

Question # 2: how can I stop this? I hate doing it and there's always hair all over the place. I have in the past cut my hair very short- too short to pull or break but to no avail. Substitute this for another behaviour? I'm considering hypnosis as it's getting too much, I've been doing it for thirty odd years. I am beginning to think that medication is the only answer?

Thank you, your advice is appreciated.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Hair puller
Unlikely that your daughter will learn the habit from you.
You are not alone - it is a common problem and associated with a type of obsession-compulsion syndrome - you can get behavioural treatment and there is definitely medication that you can take. You don't really have control over this - even if you think you have. The right person to see is a psychiatrist. It is caused by a hormonal imbalance in the brain and nothing to be ashamed of ( someone with a hormone imbalance of the pancreas causing diabetes are not!)
Let me know if you found a suitable doctor to discuss this with and how you're doing!

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