Trichotillomania, more commonly known as the hair-pulling disorder, is a mental disorder that affects many people across the world and is characterized by an irresistible urge to tear out one’s hair, from the scalp, eyebrows, or other areas that have hair. The urge is often too strong for the patient to resist, and as a consequence of this, they end up with patches of hair loss all over their body. Hair pulling causes patches across the head, which can interfere with social and work life, and stress people out. Those suffering from the condition will often go to great lengths to prevent others from finding out that they suffer from it, whether it be by wearing wigs, or by just not leaving their homes.

In this article, we will hope to explain to you the six signs indicative that a person you love, or you yourself, may be suffering from trichotillomania. Let’s find out what those symptoms are, shall we?

The Symptoms of Trichotillomania

An Urge to Pull Out Hair

The first sign of a person suffering from trichotillomania is the one we mentioned previously, which is an overwhelming urge to pull hair from the scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of one’s body. According to the health specialists from, this can last for months, or even years. The urge becomes like a compulsion that cannot be fought with, and in the end, always overcomes the person suffering, and they wind up pulling out their hair. If you yourself, or a loved one, begin to tear their hair out, it is important you go to, or have them go to, a doctor. Ignoring trichotillomania never results in anything good and will always exacerbate and make the situation worse.

Relief Afterwards

Another symptom that you may be suffering from trichotillomania is that after you have pulled out your hair, you feel an intense sense of relief. This is what feeds the habit and leads it to spiral out of control. You believe you can achieve relief by pulling out the hair, but really, you are simply worsening your addiction, and this will make your condition grow uncontrollably. The relief you experience is much like the high experienced by a drug user. It is temporary and just leads to more self-harm.

Bald Patches

If you begin to notice bald patches or hair loss on a loved one, then it is a good sign that they may be experiencing the condition or other conditions like alopecia. If you notice bald patches, while it may seem rude or too inquisitive, it is always good to ask your loved one what is going on and if they need help. Study them, pay attention to them, and watch for more bald patches.

Biting, Chewing, or Eating

Another symptom associated with this condition, and one of the most obvious signs that a person experiences it, is biting, chewing, and eating the hair. This is a compulsion that like the hair pulling itself, cannot be rationalized or argued with. A person who suffers from this condition may begin to eat or chew their hair after they have pulled it out, and if you notice this, it is an obvious sign that that is what they are experiencing.

Distress, Anxiety, and Concern

The condition also goes hand-in-hand with anxiety. If you experience this compulsion, along with crippling anxiety, it is indicative of suffering from this condition. Anxiety can be very overwhelming, and even if you experience it alone, you should always consult a doctor. Anxiety can devastate and ruin lives and by allowing it to go untreated, you feed it and allow it to worsen.


Much like obsessive-compulsive disorder, patients experiencing this condition will have rituals associated with pulling their hair out, and they can falsely believe that by performing the ritual that they will get relief.


Treatment for this condition varies. It is important that you do seek a doctor’s advice or advise your loved one to do so. The condition will only worsen and can never get better simply by itself [or at least it never seems to]. Attempting to ignore the condition or treat it yourself will seldom work, as many obsessive-compulsive patients will attest to. By attempting to cage, fight, or rebel against your compulsion, you feed it and give it strength. Equally, ignoring it can make it a lot stronger. It is best to seek help from a doctor who will be able to properly treat and advise you on what to do.

With the help of this page, you now know six symptoms associated with trichotillomania, and how it can be treated. We hope this condition never afflicts you or your friends and family, but if it does, you know how to spot it.