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Updated 19 June 2018

Meet the woman who battles with a compulsive ‘hair-pulling’ disorder

“I started pulling when I was 16. I was in foster care and had been in about seven foster homes."

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A mom who has spent years battling a compulsive hair-pulling condition has decided to ditch the wigs she used to cover her bald patches and bravely shave her head!

Siobhan Hudson was tormented by school bullies who said she looked like she had cancer after she started to pull strands of her hair out when she was just 16 years old.

Having spent years applying brown eyeshadow to her head to try and cover the patches and spending hundreds of pounds on hair pieces, the now 26-year-old has decided it’s time to embrace her baldness by shaving her head.

The mother-of-two, who often hid in the bathroom to ensure her two young children don’t see her pulling, suffers from a rare condition called Trichotillomania – an impulse control disorder.

Started at 16

Meaning she can’t resist pulling her hair out.

“I started pulling when I was 16. I was in foster care and had been in about seven foster homes.

“I was treated pretty badly in one of them and ended up in a children’s home. It was a very stressful time for me.

“That’s when I started pulling my hair, I liked the feeling. I would pull one strand at a time around the crown area.

“There was a feeling of release. It took all the stress away and the more I pulled the more it helped. It's a physical and emotional feeling of relief.

“I started pulling the odd strand and then gradually I started pulling more until I was pulling about 50 to 70 hairs at a time.

Siobhan says she was doing it every single day, even at night time. When she couldn’t sleep she would just keep pulling until her arms got tired, then she eventually drop off to sleep.

“I still do it when I'm bored or if I'm feeling stressed or feel things are getting too much.

“I’m worried that if my kids Sasha-Jane (2) and Jaimeleigh (1) see me pull they will end up pulling themselves and I don’t want it to happen to them.”

'I hadn’t heard of trichotillomania'

The stay-at-home mom said it took about three months for her to realise she had a problem but it was another two years before she found out there was a name for the condition.

“I hadn’t heard of trichotillomania. It was only when I was reading a magazine one day that I saw an article and thought that must be what I had.

“I then went to a doctor but I felt like they looked at me as if I was stupid.

“They didn’t know what to suggest to me. I don’t think there was enough information out there about it, I haven’t been back since.

“I’ve not received any treatment or medication or it. I’m using willpower to try and stop.”

 
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