Comorbid Conditions Symptom Tests

[Self-Test] Trichotillomania in Children and Teens

Is your child pulling out their hair? Take this trichotillomania test to see if your child may be exhibiting symptoms of hair-pulling disorder.

Trichotillomania is a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) characterized by repeated hair pulling, which often results in patterns of hair loss. According to the TLC Foundation for BFRBs, approximately 2 in 50 people experience trichotillomania, also known as hair-pulling disorder.1 Trichotillomania usually begins in late childhood/early puberty, and it appear to be largely genetic. Trichotillomania is often seen with other conditions, including anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).3

Hair-pulling disorder, especially if untreated, can cause significant distress to children and teens. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed about their condition, the hair loss it may cause, and of their inability to decrease or stop the behavior. Hair-pulling also causes significant distress within families, especially when parents are not informed about the disorders or do not understand what is happening. Children and teens with trichotillomania may struggle to attend school and other social settings as a result.

Answer the questions below to see if your child may be showing signs of hair-pulling disorder. Share the results with your child’s pediatrician or a licensed mental health professional. Regardless of your score, tell your doctor if your child is engaging in BFRBs, no matter the severity of the behaviors.

This self-test, drafted by ADDitude editors, is based on criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This self-test is designed to screen for the possibility of trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder), and it is intended for personal use only. This self-test is not intended as a diagnostic tool.

My child pulls out hair from their scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, and/or other parts of their body, which results in hair loss.

My child avoids school and other social settings because of their hair pulling/hair loss.

Feelings of anxiety or boredom seem to precede my child’s hair-pulling episodes.

My child visually examines the hair that they’ve pulled.

My child is secretive about their hair-pulling behavior.

My child tactilely and/or orally manipulates the hair that they’ve pulled (e.g., rolls the hair between fingers, pulls the strand between teeth and lips, or swallows the hair).

My child seems to search for a particular kind of hair to pull (e.g., hairs of a certain texture or color).

My child makes repeated attempts to decrease or stop hair pulling.

My child reports feeling an increasing sense of tension immediately before pulling out their hair or when resisting the urge to pull.

My child reports feeling a sense of pleasure or relief when pulling out their hair.

My child denies their hair-pulling behavior to others.

My child’s hair pulling/hair loss causes them significant distress.

My child often seems completely unaware of pulling, as if they are in a trance.

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Trichotillomania in Children: Next Steps

View Article Sources

1 Hair pulling. The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.

2 Golomb RG, Franklin ME, Grant JE, et al. (2016) Expert consensus treatment guidelines: body-focused repetitive behaviors. Hair pulling, skin picking, and related disorders. The TLC Foundation for BFRBs.

3 Grant, J. E., & Chamberlain, S. R. (2022). Characteristics of 262 adults with skin picking disorder. Comprehensive psychiatry, 117, 152338. Advance online publication.