Trichotillomania

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Last week, J was diagnosed with trichotillomania. I know…another diagnosis. Abbey, when I was talking about it with the doctor, I could hear you in my head saying “I always say your family should be on House!”. Trichotillomania is a long, fancy, impossible-to-remember name for “a compulsive need to pull out your hair.”

A few weeks ago, J started pulling out his hair. While driving to Mark’s brother’s wedding, he took out a huge chunk (visible in wedding pictures, of course). Over the course of that next week, he looked like a friar. Someone suggested I google pulling out hair, which is when I came across the diagnosis. I learned that in children, this disorder is characterized by a friar-like hair-do, as for some reason young kids only pull out the hair on the top of their head.

The next day I called the pediatrician, who had us come in so he could examen the scabs on J’s head from where he’s ripped out his hair. Luckily, nothing is infected, but his head doesn’t look good. I cut his hair that night, trying to blend the thick curls with the fine, short pieces of hair remaining. It didn’t work. We’re seriously considering shaving his head at this point, both to stop him from any more pulling and to help it grow in evenly.

I have to admit, I am seriously bummed out about this. I mean on one hand it’s silly because the pediatrician said children usually outgrow it, so YAY! he won’t be bald for life. But you know what? I’m vain. I always wanted a blond hair child. Those curls? One of the few things J got from me. I adore his hair. I’m proud of it. But now it’s all patchy and scabbed and I am so sad when he hands me another clump because it’s a painful way to express anxiety. I’m peeved that J has ANOTHER diagnosis, even if it’s hopefully a temporary one. Kid should be able to catch a break!!!

Have any of your kids dealt with trichotillomania? Did it go away? Did you pursue any treatment? I’d love to hear from other families who have been there, done that!

http://marfmom.com

The early stages

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5 Comments

  1. Oh gosh. I’m sorry you have one more thing to deal with, and I can definitely relate to your sadness about J’s expression of his anxiety. Sending you all lots of love, and hoping this passes quickly!

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  2. So sorry, Maya. Adam had a classmate who did this throughout elementary school whenever he got stressed, so he was allowed to wear a baseball cap. I’m happy to report that he now sports a full head of hair and has been “capless” for several years. J is so lucky to have you for a mom, I know you will give him the love and support he needs to get through this. Sending you a big cyber hug…

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  3. I nannied a boy who had this. He did outgrow it eventually. Until he did, he wore hats. He wore a baseball cap all day everyday except to church. At night he would sleep with a baseball cap that had the bill cut off. His mother also kept his hair very short. It was a military style haircut. Good luck!

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  4. Jacob did that when he was a baby. He pulled at the sides whenever he would have a bottle and ended up mostly having a mohawk. He did stop doing it, but now rubs his ear when he has a sippy cup – finger on either side of his ear, stroking the lobe. Good luck!

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  5. Yes! Around 14 months my little girl decided to start twiddling and breaking off bits of hair. We were so upset and all her hair disappeared and eventually she looked like she had had chemo :(
    Anyway she is now 2 1/2 and it is now growing back again so there is hope – we told her she must stop pulling if she wants ballerina/princess hair and I think that appealed to her, she sometimes goes to twiddle still but we quickly remind her why she can’t do it x

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