Hair Pulling & Skin Picking

Trichotillomania (hair pulling) and dermatillomania (skin picking) are impulse-control disorders that are very similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and addictive disorders. These conditions involve a repetitive and compulsive urge to pull your hair or to pick your skin during moments of anxiety and distress, which leads to significant damage.

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Like OCD, the more you engage in the compulsion to pull or pick in order to relieve the immediate anxiety, the more the anxiety intensifies in the long run. In both trichotillomania and dermatillomania, there is a sense of tension before pulling the hair or picking the skin and an immediate gratification or relief during episodes of pulling or picking. This relief lasts briefly, and soon after anxiety is exacerbated and tension returns.

What are the signs

  • Repeated pulling of hair leading to hair loss
  • Repeated attempts at quitting
  • Repeated picking of skin, leading to significant damage
  • A feeling of tension right before pulling hair or picking skin
  • Difficulty resisting the urge to pull hair.
  • A feeling of relief, satisfaction, or pleasure, right after the pulling or picking behavior.
  • Significant distress or impairment in work or social life due to pulling or picking behavior

We can help you:

  • Decrease picking and pulling behaviors
  • Learn strategies for managing your anxiety
  • Decrease procrastination and avoidant behaviors
  • Build effective and meaningful relationships
  • Identify your values and what you want your life to be about
  • Develop techniques for overcoming obstacles to living your values
  • Cultivate kindness, compassion, and acceptance through mindfulness training
  • Build a healthy, loving relationship with yourself and your body
  • Take actions toward your values and the life you want