Has anyone had their child pull hair

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Parents Symptoms, Diagnosis & Beyond Has anyone had their child pull hair

This topic contains 14 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  DdylanCATO 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #46484


    My child was diagnosed with adhd since five, she is 9 now, and has been pulling her hair out ever since she got an amphetamine based medication. She was switched to a low dose mytheline but continues to pull out hair and her bald spot is getting larger. I’m worried that she will never stop now. She’s always rubbed her head every once in a while while on other meds but never pulling her hair. She’s tried different meds throughout , at least 5-7 different ones, because she grew tolerance or it was just not right. I’m afraid we will never find right medicine for her. I just want to tell doctor to stop and maybe put her on medication she was on before all this mess. I think she has more trouble now at school than before but i think the teachers report all the behaviors thinking that meds were not enough and more meds will make her be better. I don’t know what to do anymore.

  • #46490


    My daughter started doing this about six months ago. It originated from a small scab on her scalp. She started picking that and then it progressed to pulling single strands. We have it under control for the moment. We got her to wear a kerchief for about 6 weeks so that it acted as a barrier. We also became aware that it was very situational ie sitting in class and having to listen or watching Tv. So at home we made her wear the kerchief or a hat if she was watching tv. I also changed the part in her hair so that when her fingers went searching for the bald spot, it wouldn’t be there. Ie put an elastic on opposite side.
    Anyway, we have it under control for the moment and just pray that it stays that way 🙂
    Good luck, I know how distressing it is to watch

    • #46505


      Thanks for your response it really helps to know that she is not the only one struggling with this. I will try a different hairstyle.. maybe pulling back in a pony tail will help. Good luck with your little one too. 🙂

    • #46665


      I have ADHD and suffer from trichotillomania as well… and I agree with the fellow-posters that it is a common OCD/Body-focused repetitive behavior used as an outlet for mounting stress. Knowing what it is, and why it is, however have not yet helped me conquer my pulling. It’s exceptionally frustrating and the more others point it out the more obcessive it tends to become for me. I’ve have periods when it was less obtrusive- such as when I pulled from the back, lower hairline and no one could see the bald spots. During more stressful times, like in graduate school, I started pulling from my front hairline and that was embarrassingly noticeable. I did as one reader suggested and started wearing my hair in a ponytail but that was quite frustrating as well because it did not address the underlying reasason I had a compulsion to pull, it just took away my outlet, making me more stressed. I’m sorry that I don’t have a great answer or suggestion for you, I just wanted to add another perspective. I’m following this post as well to see if others have found solutions that may help me too:)

    • #46679


      I’m sorry to hear that your still struggling with this. My daughter started when medicines are increased and it comes and goes. However, it is not going away lately and is getting more intense. I have noticed she does this more when she is doing her homework and teachers report that during class that is all that she does and it keeps her from attending to tasks. May I ask you if you started when you were a child and what exacerbated the symptoms. Thanks

  • #46501


    Hair pulling is called trichotillomania:

    Hair Pulling! Skin Picking! Nail Biting! Oh, My!

    There has been at least one study that showed very promising results treating it with the supplement Inositol:

    It could be more of an OCD thing, than ADHD or ADHD medicine:

    The Truth About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #46507


      Wow! I never thought it could be related to ocd. Thanks for your pointers.

    • #46673


      You’re most welcome!

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  • #46901


    My 10 year old son was on 20mg of Adderall (a Stimulant) and it made his destructive OCD go from not to bad to extreme. He started pulling apart his clothes to the point we were having to by him new underwear weekly. All of the hems of his shirts and jeans were pulled apart, he wears low rise socks and he pulled the top bands completely apart. We started finding wads of strings hidden all over the house. I couldn’t take it any more when he started pulling apart my throw pillows that my mom made me. (He had extreme mood swings. He went from being my sweet and loving boy to this hateful child who was either mad all the time or crying for no reason.) I finally took him to his doctor and she pulled him off the Adderall and put him on Strattera (a non Stimulant) and referred us to a child psychiatrist. The psychiatrist put him on a low dose of Lexapro to help with his OCD and upped is Strattera a little. The combination of 10mg Lexapro and 60mg Strattera has mad a HUGE difference. I’ve tested him by buying him new shirts and so far they’ve all come home intact.

  • #46904


    I’m so happy that your baby is doing better. I’m just starting through this journey and I feel like giving up sometimes. I just want my beautiful baby girl to be okay.
    Thanks for sharing and I will have this addressed more again on her next doctor’s appointment.

  • #54207


    Out of the blue, one day a few years ago, my son started pulling out all his eyebrows and eyelashes, and he couldn’t stop. At times he’s been completely hairless around his eyes! It’s mostly under control now, but it sneaks up again once in awhile. Thankfully it’s been quite awhile since he’s been completely hairless around his eyes. Here are some things we’ve learned/recommendations:

    -Get on it right now! Try to get on top of it before it gets more embedded.

    -Look for a good psychologist with experience treating trichotillomania, and hopefully kids with ADHD

    -Start a rewards system where they earn a little something for each day they don’t pull (or break it down into smaller chunks if a whole day is too much to start with). We did a Lego set after 30 days worth (didn’t have to be every day in a row). I also did little daily rewards of two little Legos. If he slipped up, I tried to just say, “oops, we had a little trouble today, but tomorrow is a new day, and you’ll do great.” Sometimes we’d talk about the situation and what we could do better.

    -Don’t let your alarm/frustration come through to them. Remain calm and positive.

    -This is largely a matter of busy hands when bored/stressed. Give them something to do! We’ve used worry rocks, little fidgets (could be a necklace, small toy, anything they can put in their pocket). Also drawing has helped, or simply distracting them with something different and interesting to get their mind off of it. We started calling whatever item a good luck charm because we discovered that just the act of putting something in his pocket with that purpose seemed to flip a switch and made a commitment in his brain that he wasn’t going to pull that day; he often didn’t even use it on those days. Find what works for your individual child.

    -Use a deterrent/reminder. When it was really bad in the beginning, sometimes he’d wear sunglasses or even swim goggles to remind him not to pull, and he would get them himself when he felt he needed extra help. Maybe try hats or headbands.

    -Explain to teachers that if they catch them pulling, to quietly help them do something else, handing them a stress ball, giving them a little task/errand, but hopefully not bring direct attention to it. Something like, “It looks like we need to do something else”, or not say anything at all. They need to be aware and on your team to beat this habit! Explain to the school why your child might need a fidget, worry rock, or wear special accessories of some sort. I added something in for it on his 504, and the school was helpful and supportive.

    -Change up medications. Some meds have a greater tendency to tics — talk to the doctors, look over side effects. We discovered a small change from a generic to a brand name helped immensely.

    -Sleep! When my son is sleep deprived, it sneaks up mindlessly while he’s reading.

    -Stress control — try to figure out what the triggers are, patterns, ask them what things bother them. My son’s habit showed up while my marriage was falling apart, and he was bottling things up inside. Get them talking, writing, drawing, playing outside, exercising, and all that good stuff.

    This is a really hard habit to deal with, and it’s heartbreaking to watch it in your kid. But it can be tackled. Don’t give up! You’ll be able to find things that help.

  • #55596


    Hello all, this is my first post so bare with me! I too suffer with ADHD and trichotillomania. It began about 5 years ago while I was sitting in traffic for an hour after work. It then progressed to me pulling out my hair while problem solving at work or anytime I was in deep thought. My psychiatrist put me on Lamectil which is a mood stabilizer. I still struggle from time to time but it has helped tremendously. I also wear gloves or a bandana if I’m sitting still. It’s literally like I have magnets on my fingers and my head is the giant target. I hope this helps!

  • #58620


    It may be the meds or it may be ADHD. A ton of people with ADHD are pickers/pullers. There’s a boy who used to constantly pick any scab bloody as a toddler. My mother picks her skin. My husband is a beard-hair-puller who used to also mess up his skin. None were on meds then! None of my kids do, and I don’t. It drives me crazy to see people doing it, so if they ever started, I’d have batted at their hands like I do my husband! “Stop doing that to yourself!” His skin isn’t messed up from it now because he does it so much less!

  • #81429


    Nice thread.

  • #81454


    Same when i take meds i bite my fingernails even though i dont have ocd

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