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Author Topic: FAQ: Is trichotillomania (pulling hair out) a means of self harm?  (Read 6863 times)
mamastired

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« on: June 19, 2013, 09:46:25 AM »

Does anyone else out there have a child with both BPD and trichotillomania? My 18 year old DD has severe trich with suspected BPD- although she does not cut herself. Is this a common situation ?
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Free One
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2013, 04:16:51 PM »

There is a reference in "Walking on Eggshells" about pulling out hair being a means of self harm. It was a lightbulb moment for me reading it because I never thought my uBPDexh was self harming, but he started pulling out hair at about age 10 or 11. As an adult it was bad enough he couldn't grow a beard or mustache.
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mamastired

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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2013, 08:17:22 PM »

My daughter has had trich since age 11 or so. It has gotten so much worse this year... . There are so many issues I don't know which therapists should address first. Just started w a new t to get her behaviors in check - and she thought it not a good idea to have more than one t. What do you think? I hate cancellations and would like regular weekly appts for her. I understand that a patient might get mixed signals - but if they each take on a different issue would that be ok? Like one work with the trich and one work with functioning or behaviors?
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Suzn
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2013, 08:58:01 PM »

trichotillomania is a disorder, similar to OCD.

The mayo clinic has some really good information on this that include causes and treatment that may be helpful here:

www.mayoclinic.com/health/trichotillomania/DS00895
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“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.” ~Jacob M. Braude
arn131arn
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2013, 05:43:16 AM »

I know BPD normally starts in the 30s.  I was looking at an old pic of my ex from about 8 years ago when she was 29.  I was looking at a current pic of her on fb.  The current pic where she parts her hair there is a two finger wide gap of where she appears to be losing or has lost some hair.

The pic from 8 years ago does not have that.  

Over the years I have noticed large amounts or clumps of head hair in the tub or the sink.

Does anyone know if that is where they would pull their hair out?  At the part? to make it look a little less apparent?

I just used to chalk it up to maybe hormones or something... .
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heartandwhole
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2013, 07:35:45 AM »

I know BPD normally starts in the 30s.  

Hi arn131arn,

I haven't heard this.  My understanding is that it is often present at a young age, even in childhood.  Here's a link that may help: Borderline Personality Disorder - A Clinical Perspective

I just used to chalk it up to maybe hormones or something... .

It could very well be.  I haven't heard specifically of this being linked to BPD, but it might be related to anxiety.

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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2013, 04:30:48 AM »

If you didn't actually see her rip her hair out, then there are many other conditions that can cause one to lose hair. First of all, the average human loses 150 to 300 hairs per day. Since it is a girl, the longer hair might appear this way to you in the bathroom. Secondly, as for the photos with a patch missing as you say, look up the condition Alopecia. This can be the cause.
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Loujaye

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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2014, 08:51:09 AM »

Hair pulling is also known as trichotillomania.  It is not a form of self injury although those who engage in it describe it as having similar self soothing effects as self injury does. It falls under the OCD umbrella. You may want to research. A lot more is know about it now than it was in the early 1990's when my then 6 year old daughter was doing it.
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ucmeicu2
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2014, 12:41:58 AM »

My daughter has had trich since age 11 or so. It has gotten so much worse this year... .  There are so many issues I don't know which therapists should address first. Just started w a new t to get her behaviors in check - and she thought it not a good idea to have more than one t. What do you think? I hate cancellations and would like regular weekly appts for her. I understand that a patient might get mixed signals - but if they each take on a different issue would that be ok? Like one work with the trich and one work with functioning or behaviors?

hi mamastired, i'd go with what the T says re having only 1 T.

i'm sorry to hear about your daughters trich.  my exBPDgf also had a longterm, severe case.  often more bald than not.  she got high from it.  she told me nothing, absolutely nothing, gave her the same exhilarating euphoric feelings as pulling her hair.  unfortunately it also gave her unrelenting guilt and shame afterwards, creating a vicious cycle. 

she was able to stop it and grow her hair with a new medication ~ i'm sorry i don't know the name and i'm no longer in contact with her to ask. 

also, i've read that it is (can be?) related to a dietary deficiency but can't remember which vitamin/supplement was needed.  i'm sure you could find it if you could google it like i did.

HTH,

icu2
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Livestrong97

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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2014, 07:59:37 AM »

This is so interesting as I've never heard of trich before but my uBPDh twists and pulls out the hair on his legs.  I never thought much about it being self harm or a way of soothing himself until I read SWOE, but as I've just recently become aware that he is BPD it answers a lot of questions. 
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jeb

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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2014, 03:17:50 PM »

I am reading Valerie Porr's book & have been looking at my daughter's childhood behaviours that fit the BPD profile.  My diagnosed BPDd25 was pulling her eyelashes out when she was 9 years old and I got VHS tapes (pre DVDs) on the topic.  She also showed extreme sensitivity to materials and found her clothes extremely irritating.  She was also highly reactive to sound.  She once told her younger brother who was in the next room that he was breathing too loudly (and he had no breathing problems whatsoever). She had a complete and total meltdown when she was 5 or 6 when we finally had to throw out the old, several times patched plastic swimming pool and she watched as the garbage truck came and crushed it and was inconsolable even though we replaced with a better stronger one.  She has always been a hoarder (even of gum wrappers).  I guess what I am trying to say is that I used to read books like "The Explosive Child" or "The Bipolar Child" and others, because I knew something was wrong.  She also picked at her legs and left scars.  This book by Valerie Porr is showing me that so many of these heightened reactions are symptoms of BPD.  I believe the plucking of her eyelashes gave her a momentary relief of stress and anxiety.  The eating disorder came when she was 15.  It doesn't make one feel better but Porr strongly advocates that only dialectical behaviour therapy and mentalization therapy will be effective because treating all the other disorders like ADD, OCD, Eating Disorders, and anxiety/depression will not be effective if the underlying BPD IS NOT ADDRESSED APPROPRIATELY.
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