Trichotillomania is a prime example of the type of hair loss disorder that can benefit tremendously from an awareness week. Despite notable prevalence in the United States (2-4% of the population), Trichotillomania remains under the radar for most individuals, including many quality stylists and medical professionals. This lack of awareness fuels misunderstanding and shame while simultaneously impeding personal progress and community support. So let’s spread the awareness!
First, what is Trichotillomania?
- Well, this mouthful of a disorder is pronounced trick-oh-till-oh-MAY-nee-ah, but most people shorten it to simply trich or TTM. What a relief, right?
- Trich involves the BFRB (body-focused repetitive behavior) of chronic, compulsive hair pulling. It can include hairs on the scalp, face, arms, legs, and pubic area and can feel like anything from a strong, distracting urge to an entirely unnoticed action. There is a lot of variation in its manifestation.
- People of all ages have been diagnosed with Trichotillomania. It impacts both males and females, but by adulthood, prevalence is much higher in women. Trich is found in happy, well adjusted individuals as well as those whose pulling began as a result of high levels of anxiety or stress. According to the Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC), “preliminary evidence indicates TTM is a nuero-biological disorder and that genetics may play a role in its development.”
- Treatments and solutions vary from coping mechanisms and resource support to therapies and medication applications. A definitive cure does not yet exist.
How can you participate in Trichotillomania Awareness Week?
- Understand the need for awareness. Like the TLC, we want to “envision a world where BFRBs are not a source of shame, and treatment that works is accessible to everyone.” The more we talk about trich, the more it becomes part of a norm rather than an embarrassment or affliction to hide, paving the way for those suffering from Trichotillomania to find a support system and resources for improvement.
- Share a video. How about this one (shown below) from last year’s campaign?
- Tell one person a day what you have learned. Set a goal to do your part in spreading awareness about trich by telling one person about the disorder each day during Trichotillomania Awareness Week, starting a week from tomorrow, October 1 – 7. It can be a friend, a family member, or a coworker and is as easy as opening with, “Hey, I read that today is the first day of Trichotillomania Awareness Week. Are you familiar with the condition?”
- Print and post these cards. The TLC created small cards that can be printed and shared on public bulletin boards at your place of work, church, gym, or community center.
For more ideas on how you can get involved, visit the TLC’s website at trich.org. If you or someone you know is struggling with Trichotillomania, there is help available. Reach out and open the lines of communication today.
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