Archive for the 'Trichotillomania' Category

31
Mar
11

Is hair pulling and plucking a form of self-harm?

Trichotillomania is an irresistible urge to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows or other areas of one’s body.  It is officially classified as an impulse control disorder, along the lines of pyromania, kleptomania, and pathological gambling.  People who struggle with eating disorders, self-injury, depression, mood swings, etc. often engage in habitual hair picking.  Is it something different in and of itself, or is it a form of SI?

There is no definitive answer and professionals differ on their opinions.  There is a connection between hair pulling and its associated pain and the body releasing dopamine.  This chemical helps regulate moods/emotions and is often lacking in people with depression or other mental illness.  Is it just a way for people to pathologically increase their low levels of dopamine or is it a form of loathing and self-harm.  The answer, like most things in life, lies with in the motives.  Until motives can be objectively discerned, hair pulling can be a form of self-abuse or just a “bad” habit used to deal with stress and emotion much like nail biting.

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“My body looks how I feel.”

“A specific language of pain that communicates the suffering of past and current trauma, which is spoken loudly by the self-inflicted repetition of that trauma upon one’s own body” (Conterio & Lader, 1998). Self-injurers do not seek death through attacking their body, they attempt to defy it.

Karl Marx

"The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain."

Words Cannot Explain

"How will you know I am hurting if you cannot see my pain. To wear it on my body tells what words cannot explain."

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