View Full Version : Therapy For Hair Pullers

10-31-2005, 01:09 PM
Hi all,

I appreciate all of the brave women who posted in the other "compulsive hair pulling" thread. I noticed in there that there were many women who stated that they no longer pull. I have been pulling since early high school (I'm 26 now) and I've been through just about everything to try and stop (taping my fingers, constantly wearing gloves, hypnotherapy, medication, etc etc).. but nothing seems to work. The only thing that seems to help very temporarily is using relaxation tapes. I was wondering if anyone has had luck with relaxation or meditation for tric, and if so what are you methods, what tapes etc. do you use.

Thanks! :)

10-31-2005, 06:11 PM
Please post responses, I am also looking for a way to stop the pulling.

10-31-2005, 06:57 PM
I must admit that I once was a puller but right around the time I started to take Yoga classes is when I realized that I didn't pull anymore. It wasn't even a conscious thing. I was pulling unconsciously and I stopped pulling unconsciously.

So, what I'm saying is, maybe taking a class that helps with relaxing may help with the pulling. :dunno:


11-01-2005, 11:58 PM
thanks blaq!

I think it's all tied to anxiety so doing something relaxing like yoga will probably help me to. Now I just have to find somewhere with yoga classes..

Anyone else? There were almost 70 replies to the other thread, I know someone out there has some helpful insight..


11-05-2005, 10:30 PM
I've begun doing some research on the treatment of trichotillomania. The internet can be a tricky place. There are definitely some sites that are scams and only out to make money. I found one site that seems pretty informative http://www.trich.org (http://www.trich.org/home/default.asp).

Cognitive-behavioral therapy + medication seems to be the advised route to treatment. I am not all interested in taking any psychotropic medications. But I am currently seeing a cognitive-behavioral therapist and we have just begun addressing this issue. I'm gonna take some of the articles from that site with me to my next session. We'll see how it goes. All I know is that I want to remedy this situation before I get to the bald spots stage.

11-06-2005, 02:24 PM
I pull too...(and tend to chew...which is a form of pica). I tend to pull more during times of high stress and I too will have to try more relaxation so that I don't pull so often. I have thinning sides thanks to my trich so..I know how far it can go. I'm just glad to see that there are others I can talk to about this. No one really seems to understand.

11-08-2005, 05:17 PM
Jamilla, how is the cognitive-behavioral therapy going? I've been through tharapy but it was psychotherapy not behavioral. I've love to find a behavioral therapist, please let me know how it is working out for you.


11-10-2005, 04:56 PM
Thanks, everyone, for the insight. I am a puller, but never thought much of it until reading this thread. Now that I think about it, I pull when I am stressed or extremely tired. Now I will be more mindful of it.

11-24-2005, 08:53 PM
Hey Azion et al.,

Therapy is going well. I'm not sure if you are familiar with cognitive-behavioral therapy, but homework is a big part of this type of therapy. So my therapist gave me the assignment of monitoring my hair-pulling. She asked me to choose a time of day since my hair-pulling is so pervasive. There's no way I could carry around my journal and try to note each and every instance of hair-pulling. I wouldn't be able to get any work done. So at night if I find myself doing it, I grab my journal and note what happened before I started and what I did to try to stop myself. Next time we'll look over the journal and see if there are any triggers or patterns. She said the idea is to slowly increase the time that I go without pulling. She said it's very difficult to stop cold turkey.

I'll keep you all updated. Take care.

11-25-2005, 07:00 AM
Originally posted by curlyfae@Nov 6 2005, 11:24 AM
I pull too...(and tend to chew...which is a form of pica). I tend to pull more during times of high stress and I too will have to try more relaxation so that I don't pull so often. I have thinning sides thanks to my trich so..I know how far it can go. I'm just glad to see that there are others I can talk to about this. No one really seems to understand.


I know how you feel at times, I stop when I am relaxed and things are going okay, but the minute a major probem arises and I get stressed out there I go again. I have been doing this since I was 10 years old or a little younger. I am currently on medication for anxiety attacks and depression because of several traumas that have happened to me. Right now, I am deeply stressed about a problem so I pulling my hair out like crazy. My psychiatrist says that it will only stop when I have learned to control my anxious and worrisome thoughts. We are working on that and many other problems. In the meanwhile I still pull my hair if I am upset. So do not feel bad dear, I do understand. I am here for support, if you need it, send me a PM. Good luck.

12-06-2005, 01:47 AM
I know I've been pulling my hair as long as I remeber ATLEAST since I was 3 I have pictures of me with bald spots ( I seriously wish my mom didn't take those pictures.) But I did the BC to 1/8th of an inch in September and I have enough hair to pull now and I'm not pulling . I think it's because I had to deal with the fact that I couldn't pull my hair so I had to relax my self (even if it was subconscious) in other ways. Excercise and Yoga do wonders when I feel that urge. I've only pulled my hair once since September. It also helps that I document my hair progress in my Fotki album and me not wanting to show bald spots THAT keeps me on track as well. I'm 24 and pulling my hair for like 21 years this is a HUGE breakthrough. cause my mother made me so ashamed of pulling my hair (which made me frustrated and pull MORE.) .......I wish people would understand you can't help it. The key is RELAX RELAX RELAX....actively look deeper into whats bothering you. :wub:

12-23-2005, 03:26 AM
I forgot to add when I get the urge to pull I spritz my hair with water. I can't STAND the sound of wet snapping hair so it keeps me at bay for a loong while. LOL :wub: AND my hair gets some hydration :P

12-23-2005, 07:04 AM
I pull too...(and tend to chew...which is a form of pica). I tend to pull more during times of high stress and I too will have to try more relaxation so that I don't pull so often. I have thinning sides thanks to my trich so..I know how far it can go. I'm just glad to see that there are others I can talk to about this. No one really seems to understand.

I do, I am just like you. When I am all stressed out I pull my hair, I have been doing this since I was little. When I am happy and relaxed I do not pull it so often. I was born with a problem in which I have no hair at the temples, this has also contributed to whole lot to my stress and unhappiness for many years. I pull the back of my hair, I have a large patch of very short hair. People think it is easy to get over, no its not. It is a horrible nervous habit that only those of us who have it understand. I have been pulling my hair a lot lately, I am undergoing some terrible stress. I pull my hair automatically, it is not something I think about. I have heard of yoga, relaxation therapy and drugs but hey if it works for some people, they should try it. I think I am in the hopeless category. :(

12-23-2005, 01:31 PM
Former hair puller here now I just rub the area softly for stimulation on wash days. I use to pull which started when I was around 11yrs of age. First because I liked the feeling, and I was bored. Then as I got older it was due to stress and because I was bored. Now I work out, go for walks, and tie my hair up as soon as I get home if my hair is in a free form style to make sure I don't start up again because pulling for me was learned and I needed to break from it slowly because stopping cold turkey only made me pull more. I haven't pulled in a long time. So I think I found the demons and told them to get to stepping. Now the hair is growing strong and looks like I never had a pulling problem before.

For this I'm happy because for a long time my mother and I could not figure out what was causeing me to do this and I never saw it as a problem until I did research and the results made me both know and become depressed that I was somehow damaged. I turned it around and said to myself that this flaw in character can be cured only when I'm ready it will just take time and learning more about pleasing me and not the world around me and bam no more pulling.

I know I make it sound simple but it was a complex issue for me growing up. Now I've faught it and won ;)


12-24-2005, 12:47 PM
Hi All,

I'm back with another update on psychotherapy. I'm still monitoring my pulling. Each session my therapist reads my journal to get additional information about my pulling since she isn't around when I do it. I almost did it in session this past week. I was talking about my mom and an argument we had and I started wringing my hands, then rubbing my chin, and then playing with my earrings. She stopped me when I got to my earrings. I noticed that I was playing with my earring, but I hadn't noticed that as we talked I was getting closer and closer to my hair.

In addition to CBT, she also has training in psychodynamic theory (ie, more Freudian approaches), so she infuses some of that into the therapy. She noted that my hair-pulling is a habit, but may also be fueled by not expressing my emotions. I had noticed that the stronger my emotions (happy, sad, nervous, angry, whatever), the more I pull. She said that rather than express the emotion I pull my hair. Well, that's probably my interpretation of what we discussed. But I definitely think it's true.

So now in addition to monitoring, she has also prescribed progressive muscle relaxation. It's a method of tensing your muslces then releasing. I'm supposed to do it several times a day to practice and then also when I find myself pulling. She said the next step is to add in deep breathing exercises. Combined it should help me release any tension. Her thing is we need to stop the behavior so that's the muscle relaxation and breathing, but we also need to address the issues underlying the behavior. And that was really what I wanted to get out of this. It started very simply and has snowballed into something much bigger. Again, I will continue to update my progress in therapy. Take care.

12-24-2005, 03:48 PM
I've taken the easy way out. I don't pull when my hair is very short so, i'm keeping my hair very short. Now i'm told that I rock alot. I'd rather rock than pull. :huh: