The terrible toll of trichotillomania

With all the glitz and glamor of the cosmetic industry, it`s easy to forget there are many unfortunate people stricken with various diseases or disorders that make it impossible for them to enjoy the same beauty experiences that most of us take for granted.

Some of these conditions are serious enough to be life threatening, others are not physically harmful but cause startling changes in appearance that are psychologically damaging. All of these cases are sad.

This series highlights a few of these cosmetic diseases and disorders. If you have any of these, our hearts go out to you. If you don`t have them “ be thankful you`re healthy! Part 1 of this series covers trichotillomania (or TTM).

What Is 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. They literally can not stop tugging on their hair. If enough hair is pulled out over time, it stops growing back, this is called traction alopecia.

Who Does It Affect?

According to the Trichotillomania Learning Center this condition affects between 1 and 2% of all Americans. Other sources estimate that as much as 10% of the world`s population are affected by this condition to some degree. TTM usually strikes in the pre- or early adolescent years. Women are most often diagnosed with TTM but the research is not clear if this means there is a real gender bias, or if men are just less likely to report symptoms or are better at hiding them. This may be the case since researchers have identified a type of TTM that affects very young boys and girls at an equal rate.

What are the Symptoms?

The primary symptom of this condition is the appearance of bald spots or patches where hair has been pulled out. The amount of hair pulled out and the area of the body affected varies from person to person. But must serious suffers have permanent bald areas that they attempt to hide or disguise (using scarves,clothing, make up, etc). The frequency of hair pulling and the intensity of the urge, varies as well. Sometimes the urge is mild and can be controlled through will power but for some people it becomes an unstoppable obsession.

Follow the links below to see examples of Trichsters (the affectionate term used to describe people who suffer from this condition.) The first one is an amazing before and after picture of a Trichster with hair extensions:

Trichster with hair extentions

More Trichsters

One More Trichster

What Causes TTM?

Some researchers suggest that a reaction to Malassezia, a common skin yeast, could cause the itch-like urge that many trichsters report. Once triggered, the urge can grow into an psychological obsession. There is also data that indicates this process is stress related.

Can TTM be treated?

There may be an underlying physical effect that triggers the urge, but there is no doubt that an emotional component drives the condition. Therefore, treatment typically involves cognitive-behavior therapy. Several sites have links to good information on treatment options. With the right treatment, it is possible to recover and those who have over come this condition are said to be Pull Free. To learn more directly from those who have suffered from this condition, check out this UK trichotillomania site.

With the advancement in the field of plastic surgery, now it’s possible to cure the acne treatments of the most scary skin disorders. With the help of numerous surgical and non surgical procedures, the appearance and function of a person’s body is changed. Plastic surgery procedures consist of both aesthetic enhancements plus functionally reconstructive operations as a part of skin treatment.