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  1. Self-Injury, is there a light at the end of the tunnel

    As I read each post I feel less alone in this disease, I call self injury a disease because I have been self harming myself since I was 6 years old, now I am 38. I have read that 10% of self injury is hair pulling. Everyday I tell myself not to hair pull, but everyday without evening knowing I do it, I find a pile of hair on the floor. I wasn't always just a hair puller, at the early age of 10, I used to keep a rifle in my make shift fort, it was a place of being safe, no one knew of this place. I would go to my fort and try to find the courage to pull the trigger of my already loaded gun. One day I took the gun to my father and gave him. That part of my life was over. Next I graduated to cutting with a razor on my arms and hands. That went on for a few years, now I have scars that I constantly hide and feel sorry I have done this to myself. It took a long while but managed to stop cutting. I sought therapy for this and it worked, thank god. All the while I did this other self harm to myself I consistantly pulled hair. To the point where I had bare skin where my eyelashes and eyebrows used to be. I have graduated to the next level of pulling not only those but pulling the hair on my head, at one point I almost pulled all the hair off the top of my head, so much so that my entire hand covered the bare area. Every day I tell myself not to hair pull and every day I continue to do it, most times when I am stressed or just even relaxing when I lay in bed or I'm alone. My family looks at me in a weird way and ask me to just simply stop. I wish it were so easy. This disease is so tiresome for me to look in the mirror and see this person that I constantly say is not me but this poor woman that looks so sorry, so sad, so tormented. I want to stop, but I don't have the resources to go out and seek therapy for $75 or more an hour. My quest continues and it's very frustrating. I cry more and more now a days, I hate feeling hopeless.

  2. #2

    Self-Injury, is there a light at the end of the tunnel

    Welcome, Eaglevoice

    Glad you joined us!

    You have been dealing with trichotillomania for a long time. I did not know that someone so young could have this condition.

    Do you live in Canada, Eaglesoar? If so then you can easily get treatment without cost, through a referal to a clinician by your family doctor.

    I'm not sure how that would work in other countries. Others may know.

  3. Trichotillomania

    I had no idea there was a name for it, and yes I live in Canada, Vancouver and most therapy is private. I still have to check out medical covered therapists. I am afraid of going to a therapist, thinking that social services will take away my youngest daughter, I am scared that the medical world may see me as crazy and putting my child at danger. A long time ago I told myself to never let my children see me hair pull and they haven't but now that they are older they are trying to help me stop. I was thinking of going to a hypnotherapist, I heard good reviews about getting in touch with the subconsious and telling it to stop the urge to pull hair, is there any truth to this?

  4. #4

    Self-Injury, is there a light at the end of the tunnel

    Eaglevoice,

    You can rest assured that no clinician will put you in the hospital for this. Ever see really psychotic homeless people? They are not in hospitals. You need to be very, very ill to be involuntarily hospitalized...and even then you may not be hospitalized. I hope this reassures you enough that you will seek out professional treatment without fear.

    I had used hypnosis to quit smoking at one time. It worked very well. If I were in your position it is something I would try but I would also have a therapist in place to help the treatment along and to continue with other treatments if it does not work.

    Here is some information on the treament of trichotillomania. Click on the blue introduction title below, for the website the info is from.


    About TTM & Treatment: Introduction

    Trichotillomania (TTM) is an impulse disorder that causes people to pull out the hair from their scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, or other parts of the body, resulting in noticeable bald patches. It is currently defined as an impulse-control disorder, but there are still questions about how it should be classified. It may seem, at times, to resemble a habit, an addiction, a tic disorder or an obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is estimated to affect one to two percent of the population, or four to eleven million Americans.


    Who Gets Trichotillomania?
    TTM seems to strike most frequently in the pre- or early adolescent years. The typical first-time hair puller is 12 years old, although TTM has affected people as young as one and as old as seventy. It is thought that ninety percent of those with TTM are women, but research is inconclusive and it may simply be the case that men are less likely to seek treatment and can more easily hide their symptoms. A form of TTM that affects very young children appears to occur in males and females at an equal rate and seems to be more benign in nature.


    How Do I Know If I Have Trichotillomania?
    Although the symptoms range greatly in severity, location on the body, and response to treatment, most people with TTM pull enough hair over a long enough period of time that they have bald spots on their heads (or missing eyelashes, eyebrows, pubic, or underarm hair), which they go to great lengths to cover with hairstyles, scarves or clothing, or makeup. The persistence of the compulsion can vary considerably: For some people, at some times, it is mild and can be quelled with a bit of extra awareness and concentration. For others, at times, the urge may be so strong that it makes thinking of anything else nearly impossible.


    Why Doesn't Anyone Seem to Know about Trichotillomania?
    TTM did not appear in the popular media in the United States until about 1989. As a result, many people with TTM have gone for many years without adequate information about their condition, or appropriate treatment. Consequently, the one symptom that most people with TTM share is shame.


    What Treatments Are Available?
    Research into treatments for trichotillomania has grown steadily over the past decade. Although no one treatment has been found to be effective for everyone, a number of treatment options have shown promise for some people with TTM. TLC will make referrals to practitioners of any of the following therapies, at no charge.

    Cognitive-Behavior Therapy
    Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a form of therapy that seeks to alter behavior by identifying the precise factors that trigger hair pulling and learning skills to interrupt and redirect responses to those triggers. Cognitive-behavioral should be performed by a psychologist trained in this method and well versed in trichotillomania-something that may be easier said than done, as there is not an abundance of psychologists with this specialty. The therapist will encourage hair pullers to develop an increased awareness of the times of day, emotional states, and other factors that promote hair pulling, as an important precursor to being able to control the behavior. Some hair pullers have had success with simple behavioral devices such as putting bandages on their fingers to interfere with pulling, keeping records of their hair pulling, or changing environmental cues that can trigger pulling.

    Pharmaceutical Therapy
    A number of medications have shown promise in reducing the severity of TTM symptoms. Most of these fall under the category of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly known of which is Prozac. The effectiveness of these drugs for hair pulling ranges considerably. A small percentage of people find these drugs to stop their hair pulling completely, while others feel no effect at all. Still other people have found the urges to pull their hair reduced somewhat, for varying periods of time. Researchers are studying the possible benefits of combining drugs with cognitive-behavioral therapy.

    Support Groups & Sharing
    Many hair pullers have discovered that the shame of being alone and hiding the condition can make it even harder to focus on strategies to reduce pulling. Joining a support group can go a long way toward erasing the shame and making people with TTM feel "normal" again. TLC maintains a database of support groups around the country for people with TTM, and referrals are free. TLC will also assist with the formation of new support groups. Some support groups are entirely peer-run; others are run by a mental health professional. Many groups feature a "check-in" time-a time for members to report on their progress-which can help reduce pulling.

    Alternative Therapies
    There are anecdotal reports that several alternative therapies, including hypnosis, biofeedback, dietary changes, and exercise, among others, have been found helpful by many people.

  5. #5

    Self-Injury, is there a light at the end of the tunnel

    Eaglevoice,

    I just read your post again and realized that you were afraid that social services would take your youngest daughter away because you struggle with hair pulling. You were not concerned about being put in hospital. Sorry about the misunderstanding. The same applies to your fear of having your daughter removed from your care. Children are not removed from parents just because they hair pull.

    Hope this helps to lesson your fear of seeking help for yourself.

    Take care

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