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A-Z Teen Health Glossary

Teen Trichotillomania Treatment

Overview of Teen Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a behavioral disorder in which teens have the compulsion to pull out and/or twist hair repeatedly, causing it to break. This type of mental illness is specifically categorized as an impulse control disorder and is specifically characterized by teens’ inability to stop the harmful behaviors to themselves, even if they know the behaviors are wrong and/or sincerely want to stop. The disorder is more commonly exhibited in females than males and sometimes teens might also pull hair from their eyebrows and/or eyelashes.

Symptoms

Teens with trichotillomania repeatedly pull and/or twist hair, causing it to come out or break. Over time, this can result in bald patches and/or thinning hair, as well as the overall appearance of uneven hair growth. It can also lead to skin problems and permanent hair loss.

Teens with trichotillomania often obsess over the hair pulling and experience some level of relief, once they do so. Teens also often carry out the behavior in secret, and will deny the behavior to others, as they often feel ashamed or embarrassed about both their habit as well as the underlying driving forces thereof. The nature of this is very similar to that of self-injury disorders, in which teens become obsessive over carrying out a harmful act, seeing it as the only way to relieve inner emotional angst. Along these lines, it’s also common for teens with trichotillomania to have other self-harm disorders or mental health conditions as co-occurring disorders.

Teen Trichotillomania Treatment

Beyond the visible symptoms and behaviors that accompany trichotillomania, what’s most important to address are the underlying stressors and emotional challenges which are leading the teens to these self-harming behaviors. When teens are in a place where they’ve become addicted to a behavior which they know harms them, it’s because they’re experiencing mental and/or emotional pain that is far greater than that which they’re inflicting upon themselves. In many instances, teens find relief in pulling the hair because it’s a distraction from the other pain they’re feeling and because it’s a pain they can control. Along these lines, it’s common for teens with trichotillomania to also be suffering from another mental illness or mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression.

To this end, teen trichotillomania treatment must be successful in addressing teens’ compulsive behaviors, as well as the underlying emotional challenges they’re facing. In order to do this comprehensively, careful attention must be paid to the diagnostic and evaluation process, so that any potential co-occurring disorders are recognized and treated. Throughout the treatment process, our therapists work to support teens to uncover and identify what sources of emotional pain and stress in their lives trigger them to need to pull their hair.

By helping teens to stop their harmful behaviors while simultaneously addressing the underlying issues, our therapists can help teens to lessen these deeper causes. This in turn helps teens to not just recover from the behaviors but also gain relief and support on numerous levels in their lives, as they gain insight and resources into healthier ways to address stressors in their lives, down the road.

Paradigm Austin

At Paradigm Austin, we provide residential teen trichotillomania treatment, as well as treatment for many other mental health and substance abuse disorders. Paradigm Austin is a residential teen treatment facility and designs every treatment plan individually, according to each teen’s unique needs, symptoms, and goals. Located in a comfortable, house-like setting, Paradigm Austin provides treatment to teens from Austin, the East Coast, as well as the rest of the United States. Paradigm Austin is one of the leading teen treatment centers in the nation and in the world.