Trichotillomania is the loss or damage of scalp hair through repeated pulling or twisting due to irresistible compulsive impulses.

Trichotillomania is more common among children than adults and occurs more than twice as frequently in women than in men. It often occurs with bulimia nervosa in teenage girls.

The clinical feature of Trichotillomania is plucked hair from the side of the scalp favouring the “dominant” hand. Occasionally, the whole scalp is affected and, in rare cases, other body sites are involved. In some cases the hair can be chewed, eaten and/or swallowed; this is called Trichophagy.

The condition is often compared to other “comforting” habits, such as thumb sucking and nail biting. Behavioral modification through hypnotherapy and aversion therapy, psychotherapy, and medication with imipramine or clomipramine are treatments used with varying degrees of success.

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