Hair pulling to you
840,000 women in the UK suffer with Trichotillmania or TTM, the symptoms of pulling hair serve as a coping mechanism for anxiety and other difficult emotions. It is often done sub-consciously and can take many forms including skin picking, eyelash pulling and nail biting.
Sufferers suffer with crippling low self esteem, as it’s a vicious circle with anxiety over one’s looks keeping the hair pulling going..Only 10% of women seek treatment for it, often given anti anxiety medication or sent for CBT, however Hypnotherapy can be an excellent way to reduce the anxiety, and change the habit through addressing the subconscious mind.
When you have TTM pulling out hair soon stops hurting as it’s a release, as it creates a dopamine burst, but there is guilt with it and then leaves the person feeling terrible.
The use of hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy can help lower anxiety, but it will depend on the type of hypnosis on offer. Those promising immediate relief after one session are likely to be disappointed, it takes as long as it takes to reduce the anxiety.
There is also the “Intralace System”, a mesh that is placed between the existing hair and the scalp, acting as a barrier to the pulling.
Trichotillomania Case Study 1
Carrie was a ten-year-old brought by her mother to stop pulling out her eye lashes. She was doing it when reading mostly, so she was in trance and had created this habit. Also standing in front of the mirror. She wasn’t aware of it being a problem until I asked about it. Carrie was quite shy and I felt this may have influenced the habit.
It only took 1 session to stop the automatic pulling. She wanted to carry on though because she felt more confident. I taught her how to be confident like Wonder Woman. and after a few more sessions felt more confident about doing her SATS in June.
Trichotillomania Case Study 2
Helen works in new media marketing which is very full on and stressful. With having to hit deadlines, her boss micromanages her after she was promoted. The stress of this and her impending wedding have made her pull her hair more. By focusing on the times it is not happening, indicated that she was procrastinating a lot because she felt so overwhelmed by the amount of work she had to do.
I suggested she create a traffic light system “to do list”. This highlights what’s really important (red) what is more long term and not so urgent (amber). All the small jobs that are not so important which can be fitted in between jobs was green. By doing this exercise she was able to prioritise her work and lower her stress levels.
After a week she had managed to do many of the small jobs and the quicker she did them and scratched them off her list the calmer and happier she felt.
Her boss went on holiday and that helped sort a lot of backlogs out as he kept interrupting her with his work. She agreed that it might help to get him to prioritise the work he wanted so she could incorporate the traffic light system to his work.
Over the course of 6 sessions she found that she was rarely pulling, she was much more aware of the times it had happened so made sure she had a way to change the habit consciously now.