|Adult ADHD Home||Succeed at Work||ADHD Self Test|
|Love & Friendships||Manage Time & Money||ADHD Adult Blogs|
|The Organized Life||Stress, Sleep, Health||Adult Support Groups|
|Apps & Gadgets||Inspirational Stories||Expert Answers|
|ADHD Parenting Home||Schedules & Time||Sample Routines|
|Discipline & Behavior||Teens & Young Adults||Parent Support Group|
|ADHD Parenting Skills||Nutrition & Diet||Parenting Blogs|
|Friendships & Social Skills||Sports & Hobbies||Summer & Camps|
|ADHD Treatment Home||ADHD Medications||Medication Reviews||Adderall|
|Treating Your Child||Nutrition & Diet||Fish Oil Printable||Daytrana|
|Expert Q&As||Non-Medical Treatment||Find Professionals||Strattera|
|Behavior Therapy||Brain Training||Quillivant XR||Vyvanse|
|ADHD/LD School Home||High School & College||Accommodations|
|IEPs & 504s||ADHD Study Skills||ADHD School Guide|
|Working with School||School Organization Help||College Survival Guide|
|Social Skills at School||For Teachers Only||Is it LD? A Self Test|
|ADHD Diagnosis Home||ADHD & Women||Is it ADHD? Self Tests|
|Getting a Diagnosis||Is it a Related Condition?||Medical Q&As|
|ADHD Symptoms||Post Diagnosis Next Steps||Myths & Realities|
|Is it Learning Disabilities?||ADHD Treatment||ADHD Support Groups|
|Tools and Checklists|
|ADHD Topics A-Z|
|Share Your Story|
|Give a Gift|
|Buy Back Issues|
|Thread : Trichotillomania: Hair Pulling|
|13 Feb 2009 @ 4:09 PM|
Thu 24th Jan 2008
Threads: 7 Posts: 28
Trichotillomania: Hair Pulling
For about a year, my six-year-old son has been pulling out his eyelashes.
It started out with an innocent conversation we were having about wishes. We were talking about making wishes, and the different things people do to make a wish: blowing out birthday candles, wishing on a star, blowing a dandelion flower, seeing 11:11 on the clock, etc. I added that if your eyelash falls out, you can blow it away and make a wish. He thought that was a fantastic idea, and started looking for eyelashes.
He became obsessed with it, and instead of waiting for them to fall out, he began to PULL them out. Then, instead of blowing them away to make a wish, he would KEEP them, because they were "lucky." At first, I thought it was just a phase he was going through, but he became so obsessed with it, he was not getting his work done in school. He would hold on to his eyelashes through recess so he could show them to me when I picked him up after school. I began to notice bald patches on his eyes.
I mentioned this to his ADHD doctor, thinking this obsessive behavior might be a side effect of his medication. The doctor said it might be a "tic" and we changed his meds to a non-stimulant. His ADHD behavior exploded, he began doing very poorly in school, and the hair-pulling did NOT stop. I had the doctor resume his stimulant medication, and he is now doing much better, but still pulling.
I googled "pulling hair and eyelashes" and was amazed to find out that this is an actual disorder. It's called "trichotillomania" but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a treatment for it. It seems to be caused by extreme stress, frustration, and feelings of inadequacy or overburdened responsibility.
I can see how these feelings might be common in children with ADHD. I've never seen it mentioned as a possible comorbidity illness. I was wondering if anybody else was aware of this, and if they knew of a way to alleviate the cause or the impulse to pull? Also, I hoped that by opening this thread, I would bring this little-known disorder to light, and hopefully find some others who can join in the discussion.
During my online search, I ordered a very expensive book called "Why Won't My Child Stop Hair Pulling?" by Abby Leora Rohrer. I'm hoping to gain some insight by reading this book, written by a former hair-puller. If you know of any other helpful books or websites, please let me know.
|5 Mar 2009 @ 12:41 PM Reply # 1|
Thu 5th Mar 2009
Threads: 0 Posts: 1
My 7 year old daughter started pulling out her eyelashes in the las few months, maybe longer. She also has ADHD and is taking Focalin to treat it. Her hair pulling is escalating and she has resorted to using tweezers to pull her eyelashes out. I think the Focalin might be making it worse. She knows she can't stop and she's starting to become depressed about it because she's afraid the other kids at school are going to notice it. She's starting to feel overwhelmed about the whole thing. Can anyone help?
|5 Mar 2009 @ 1:30 PM Reply # 2|
Thu 24th Jan 2008
Threads: 7 Posts: 28
Still reading the book...
I'm not finished with the book yet, but so far here's what it says. The pulling is a form of addiction like drinking alcolhol or overeating. It's not a tic, a habit, or an obsessive/compulsive disorder. It is a free and easy way to cope with emotional issues and stress, and brings intense relief and satisfaction.
They do this because they are naturally sensitive children, and have a more severe reaction to things that might not normally bother other kids. (Or if it does bother other kids, they would handle it differently.) Some of the causes of their emotional stress is feeling as if their needs are not being met, feeling as if they are burdened with adult responsibilities beyond their ability to handle, feeling as if their life is out of control and no one is there to save them or protect them, experiencing big changes (such as parents divorcing, moving to a new home or school, the death of a family member or friend, the birth of a sibling, etc.), feeling some form of abuse (whether literal abuse or an abstract perception of "abuse" which is explained in the book), and low self-esteem and negative self-talk.
The next chapter I'm going to read covers what we can do as parents to help the child. I will try to update this thread once I know more. I will also try to include a link to the website in case anyone wants to purchase the book or read the online articles, which are very informative.
|8 Mar 2009 @ 12:09 PM Reply # 3|
Sun 8th Mar 2009
My son had been at the same dosage of Concerta for a year and then he got off the bus one day and I noticed that his eyes were very puffy. My first thought was allergies. When I took a closer look I realized that all of his eyelashes were gone. I asked him did it hurt and he said yes. The next day we went to the dr. and he said it wasn't the med. I have 2 close very friends who are special ed. teachers and they said it is concerta. They have seen it cause students to pull out hair on their body. My son continues to pick at his eyes when he is going to bed and when he does any homework. His teacher says he does it all day long. We tried band-aids (so that it would be too slippery), but a 7 year old who has ADHD, of course they didn't last at school. At night time it does work. Thinking back to the day he did it, I realized he was very excited about being in a program in front of the school. I am open to any suggestions and/or ideas.
|12 May 2009 @ 4:14 PM Reply # 4|
Tue 12th May 2009
Pulling for yrs
I have been pulling for yrs and was recently diagnosed w adult adhd. The only thing that has helped my pulling is hypnotherapy. Dont resort to anti-depressants and other things they often use to treat this. Its a tough habit to kick once it starts because it is a disorder that brings focus and relief, but hypnotherapy helped me to create an awareness that has stayed with me for years w/out side-effects.
|12 May 2009 @ 4:36 PM Reply # 5|
Thu 24th Jan 2008
Threads: 7 Posts: 28
Thank you for sharing Adwadd. I have wondered about the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. Yes, everyone seems to agree that those who share this unusual habit find it extremely soothing, calming, and a relieving.
My son has not been pulling so much lately. I think mostly I was concerned that 1) He was hurting himself and he might get an infection... and 2) There was some deep emotional trauma that I was not able to help him deal with.
The book I got stresses over and over that you should never never punish or belittle the child for pulling. You should never make him/her feel guilty for doing it. That thought never crossed my mind. That's one thing that I find a little irritating about the book. I am really appalled that someone would see a child in distress and blame that child for embarrassing the family or intentionally trying to manipulate the parents by harming themselves. I think the author had to deal with this a lot growing up, which is really sad. She sort of "assumes" that all parents automatically jump to this conclusion though, which is kind of sad.
I HAVE had to ask the teachers to back off because they were constantly nagging him about it at school, which was making it worse. I think once they stopped hen-pecking him about it, he didn't feel so stressed out about it anymore, which helped.
It's amazing to see how many people actually do have this, once you start looking. Most people are very secretive about it, but almost everybody knows somebody who struggles with it. Kind of like ADHD, it is comforting to know you are not the only person in the world who is going through this. Thank you all!
|19 May 2009 @ 7:16 PM Reply # 6|
Tue 19th May 2009
Threads: 1 Posts: 2
I have a 10 soon to be 11 yr old daughter who recentally started pulling out her hair too. She takes Datranya for ADHD.The teacher's brought it to our attention and has since then been keeping a journal in hopes to find out what maybe trigering her to pull at her hair. Our daughter know's that she is doing it. She now will wear a jacket that has a hood so no one will ask her question's or make fun of her. This is so heartbreaking to me .I feel like I can't help her because she can't tell me why she does it....not sure if she even know's. Quote:
Amy2838 said: For about a year, my six-year-old son has been pulling out his eyelashes.
|20 May 2009 @ 2:59 PM Reply # 7|
Thu 24th Jan 2008
Threads: 7 Posts: 28
Tweens are tough enough as it is!
MaddiesMom, I feel for you. I think it may be a little more difficult for girls because our society is so image-conscious. And 10/11 is such a tough time! I know it was for me at that age. They don't want to be a "kid" anymore but too young to be a teenager. Their social groups are changing, and everything they say, do, wear, and think MATTERS so much. My heart goes out to you and your daughter.
From what I've learned, the hair pulling is a coping mechanism. It helps people deal with emotional turmoil, and it helps them "get out" their feelings by physically pulling out their hair. It provides a sense of relief and satisfaction. I'm sorry to say, I haven't finished reading to the end of the book yet. I wish I could offer you more information. I will try to read some more of the book and let you know what I learn.
If you want to check out the website, go to www.trichotillomaniafree.com The website is overflowing with information, and it can be a little overwhelming. If you scroll to the very bottom of the page, you'll see several links in blue. The one's I think you'd be most interested in are "Hair Pulling Child" and "Parents of Hair Pullers." The website really has a lot of articles to read, but of course she saves the most important information for her book, which you must purchase for a pretty hefty price. >:( Anyway, I hope this helps. In the meantime, I will TRY to finish reading the book. (I do have ADD, by the way! LOL!)
|28 May 2009 @ 11:57 AM Reply # 8|
Thu 28th May 2009
My 12 year old daughter was diagnosed with adhd in December and began taking Concerta. She is also diagnosed with OCD which for her is issues with anxiety. After starting medicine she began being obsessed with having hairs on her clothing and lint and even hair on others. She would spend a lot of time picking hair off of herself . I think it was Christmas vacation when I noticed she was missing about half of her upper eyelashes. I took her sister's tweesers out of her bathroom. She mostly quit pulling her eyelashes. A couple of months ago she started pulling out thehair on her head. Her doctor switched her adhd med to Strattera. The hair pulling has still continued and she is missing a lot of hair. She is now going to begin CBT therapy and is no longer taking any adhd medicine. Her doctor believes the hair pulling is a tic which can occur with stimulants and is related to her OCD which can be made worse with taking stimulants.
|7 Dec 2010 @ 11:59 PM Reply # 9|
Tue 7th Dec 2010
I was a kid with Trich 25 years ago
I am now 36 years old and have been pulling my eyelashes out since I was about 10 years old. It all started by innocently finding pleasure in pulling a few lashes out at a time....until they were all gone in a matter of weeks. Ironically, my sister started doing the same which makes me believe we are genetically predispositioned for this disorder. My sister, however, stopped pulling by age 12 and never had the urge to pull again. At first, my very kind and nurturing Mother tried the Vanity approach..."You don't want your Grandmother or cousins seeing you without eyelashes, do you?" Well, of course I didn't want anyone to see me like this but there was nothing I could do to stop. This was the early 80s so no Doctor or Psychiatrist had a clue what to do with me. I think that was the worst part. My parents forced me to a "Shrink" at 12. I cried all the way there and all the way home. I felt like a freak and no one had answers. Let's just say my pre-teen years were less than desirable: Depression, Anxiety, Overeating, you name it. However, I still had friends, loving parents, and a stable environment. Then finally, my mother's VANITY solution started working. I was becoming a teen and very interested in boys. I made a pact to myself at 15 that I would stop pulling. And I did. I lost 15 pounds and went from chubby girl with no lashes to tall, skinny, girl with lashes. I ended up LOVING my High School years. I wasn't a straight A student, but did well enough to get into a solid state college. (My parents were teachers and knew I was showing signs of a "learning disorder" but wanted me to develop my own coping mechanisms, which I did.) Turns out my focus and concentration issues were actually ADD back then too.
Looking back, so many things make sense to me now. Like finding missing pieces to a puzzle I have been trying to put together for over 20 years. If I had those missing peices back then, I always wonder if my life would be any different. My disorder was mine alone, and I had no one to explain I wasn't a freak at 12 years old.
Then I went off to College. I was excited and looked forward to my new found freedom. I was very social and still am today. After my first semester, I found myself pulling at my lashes again. I conciously recognized I was having urges and fought them, again. Only one....would turn into three..until they were all gone AGAIN. I had a boyfriend, joined a sorority, and doing my best to keep a 'C" abverage. The College Classroom was probably the very worst learning environment I have ever experienced. This was the early-mid 90s and I was bored out of my mind. The only success I had was in developing friendships and becoming one of the most "social" people in town. Let's just say I would rather party than study any night of the week. It was becoming obvious I was spiraling out of control- Drinking, Overeating, Smoking, Pulling, Depressed, Anxiety Ridden, and losing my self confidence I had worked SO HARD for during my early teen years. After 3 years in College and only one year (maybe 3 semesters) left, I dropped out and justified my decision by telling everyone I was going to transfer to be closer to my Boyfriend who just graduated. WHAT? Again, looking back, this was and still is the worst decision I have ever made in my life. And it was all due to the fact that I had not been diagnosed with a treatment plan. I wish I had those puzzle pieces....
Now, if I can share anything with girls or women at any age with Trich, it is my love of Falsh Eyelashes. I discovered falsies in College and haven't stopped using them since. Ya, I am sure people stare ay my eyes and think, "Are those fake?" but honestly, it doesn't bother me anymore. I get compliments on a weekly basis and have friends or even strangers ask me to put them on for them constantly. It makes me smile. And I hope any female who has trich is using falsies or tries. It has literally saved me and makes me look beautiful.
Long story short, after fighting my weight, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, trich, ADD, and who knows what else is lurking in my short circuited brain for 20+ years, I never gave up hope. I tried several Psychiatrists who weren't the right fit. I have tried almost every anxiety or depression drug under the sun with no success. It took me 5+ years to figure that out. I married at 30, have a great job, great home, great family, great friends, and truly can't complain. Just three years ago at age 33, I was finally diagnosed with Adult ADD. Then, my Doctor explained the links between ADD, Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks, and Trich! KNOWLEDGE at last! I am not a freak afterall! I still pull and will always have anxiety. It is who I am and honestly do not know anything different. I have accepted and am at peace with who I am. God created me this way and he loves me. And then God created Adderall. Controversial or not, since I started taking Adderall 3 years ago, my Career has literally taken off. And for that, I am grateful. I only wonder if I would have dropped out of college in 1995 if I had treatment. Would I have started pulling again if I were in treatment? Questions, Questions, Questions.
So as life long Trich-head, what kind of insight can I share with a young woman with Trich or Mother trying to do what is best for her child? I can only say that you are not alone. Love and support each other. It will be OK. Find the RIGHT Physchiatrist who you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and don't be ashamed. Meds may or may not work for you, and that is OK. I tried several and will never take 95% of them ever again. But that 5% has changed my "Professional" life for the better. KNOWLEDGE! The more you know about your Trich, ADD, or whatever you may have, learn as much as possible. Those pieces of the puzzle will start presenting themselves and all will be fine. We are unique people who grow to have happy, successful lives. We just need love and support like everyone else on this planet........which doesn't make us so different afterall. ;)
Local Time : 25 May 2013 10:55 PM
(Sun, 26 May 2013 02:55:36 GMT)