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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Other Names for this Disease
  • Hair-pulling syndrome
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Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder characterized by an overwhelming urge to repeatedly pull out one's own hair (usually on the scalp), resulting in hair loss (alopecia). The eyelashes, eyebrows, and beard can also be affected. Many affected individuals feel extreme tension when they feel an impulse, followed by relief, gratification or pleasure afterwards. The condition may be mild and manageable, or severe and debilitating. Some individuals chew or swallow the hair they pull out (trichophagy), which can result in gastrointestinal problems. The exact cause of the condition is unknown. Treatment typically involves psychotherapy (including cognitive behavior therapy) and/or drug therapy, but these are not always effective.[1]
Last updated: 11/30/2012


  1. Trichotillomania. NORD. January 19, 2011; Accessed 11/28/2012.
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Basic Information

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  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

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  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Trichotillomania. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.