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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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How might trichotillomania be treated?

Behavioral treatment seems to be the most powerful treatment for trichotillomania. Parental involvement is important and should include enough support so that affected children grow well intellectually, physically, and socially. Shaving or clipping hair close to the scalp may be helpful to stop the behavior.[1]

Professional cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is recommended if initial approaches are unsuccessful. CBT typically involves self monitoring (keeping records of the behavior); habit-reversal training; and stimulus control (organizing the environment). CBT is typically effective in highly motivated and compliant patients. The success of therapy may depend on firm understanding of the illness and the cooperation of the family members to help the affected individual comply with treatment. Several courses of CBT may be needed.[1]

No medication has been approved for the treatment of trichotillomania, and medications used have not been consistently effective. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been utilized but responses to treatment have not been consistent. Fortunately, several recent studies regarding drug therapy for trichotillomania show promise. While drug therapy alone is currently generally not effective, combination therapy and other treatments may be helpful.[1]

More detailed information about current treatment options for trichotillomania is available on Medscape Reference's Web site and can be viewed by clicking here. You may need to register on the Web site, but registration is free.
Last updated: 11/30/2012

  1. Carly A Elston. Trichotillomania. Medscape Reference. August 26, 2011; Accessed 11/30/2012.

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • lists trials that are studying or have studied Trichotillomania. Click on the link to go to to read descriptions of these studies.