Trichotillomania, characterized by the repetitive pulling out of one’s own hair leading to hair loss and functional impairment, has been documented in the medical literature since the 19th century, but has received scant research attention. Community prevalence studies suggest that trichotillomania is a common disorder with point prevalence estimate of 0.5% to 2.0%. Although recently grouped with OCD in the DSM-5, clinicians need to be aware that trichotillomania and OCD may have less in common than originally thought. In fact, approaches to treating trichotillomania, which include habit reversal therapy and medication (n-acetyl cysteine or olanzapine), are quite different from those used to treat OCD; and some first-line treatments used for OCD appear ineffective for trichotillomania. Based on our clinical experience and research findings, the article recommends several management approaches to trichotillomania.
Wellcome Trust (110049/Z/15/Z)