Trichotillomania – a.k. a. TTM or “trich” – is characterized by repeated hair pulling from any part of the body, for instance from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, underarms, pubic area, legs or any other region where hair may grow. That often results in noticeable bald patches. Hair pulling may occur in brief episodes throughout the day or in more sustained periods that continue for hours. Stressful circumstances often exacerbate hair pulling behavior, however it can also occur in states of relaxation and distraction (e.g., when reading a book or watching TV).
Examining the hair, playing with it, chewing it, or eating it may occur with thrichotillomania. People are often ashamed of their hair pulling behaviors and attempt to conceal the resulting hair loss. Trich may cause significant distress or impairment in an individual’s overall ability to function. It does, however, respond to treatment.