Trichotillomania Treatment Options & Coping Strategies

In times of stress, boredom or anxiety, those with trichotillomania (also known as compulsive hair-pulling) tend to have an especially difficult time with their symptoms. [Here's a refresher on what trichotillomania is].

If you have trich, some of these ideas might work for you-- I know many of them have helped me!

Treatment Options:

-Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. CBT is known for treating many illnesses, including anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia. I had a huge breakthrough in my treatment for trich during a CBT session, and have encountered studies and individuals who tout its efficacy. Ask your GP, psychologist or psychiatrist for a referral to a certified CBT practitioner for group or individual sessions.

-Medication. The bad news: there's no special pill that will stop you from pulling your hair. The good news: some medications which help anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses can aid in treatment of trichotillomania, too. If you are already on medication for a comorbid condition, chances are its positive effects will spread to your hair-pulling. When one illness is especially bad, others are, too; when one is successfully treated, you'll see an improvement in others, too.

-Alternative therapies. Many people have had success with alternative therapies, such as herbal remedies or different types of psychology/talk therapy. Ask your doctor if one of these may benefit you.

-Support groups. Improve your self-image, meet others with similar situations and share ideas that have helped you cope. This is an excellent way to make friends who 'get' what you're going through, too.

Meanwhile, find some coping strategies that work for you. (These are meant to help control symptoms, rather than treat the underlying illness). Below are a whole bunch for you to try.

Coping Strategies:

-Play with fidget toys-- a slinky, silly putty, a bracelet...

-Talk to someone you trust (especially if they have a similar disorder).

-Create a barrier between your fingers and the area you usually pull from. Wear a hoodie, gloves, bandanna or a hat.

-Pay attention to when and where you usually pull. Sometimes awareness is enough to stop pulling.

-Set small, measurable goals. "I will not pull for the next hour", or "I will not pull more than twice today". Continually raise the bar, and celebrate when you succeed.

-Wear an elaborate hairstyle or fancy hair clips.

-Wear nail polish or perfume. You'll be likelier to notice your hand reaching for your hair.

-Put lotion on your hands. This will make grasping hair more difficult.

-Pet a cat or dog.


-Try mantras, like "I am stronger than the urge to pull".

-Lift weights, go rock climbing or swim. Your arms will be too tired to pull.

-Keep a journal.

-Know your triggers.

-Practice self love.

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