Have you been bothered when someone noticed your eyebrows? Did you try plucking your brows to keep them groomed? It’s just an occasional tweezing. However, it starts to happen more frequently. It becomes a habit. This is how Samantha Zabell started with her hair pulling disorder.
In an article she shared with Real Simple, Zabell shared how she developed and found out about trichotillomania (trich) or hair pulling disorder.
Zabell called it her “brow secret.” She was in sixth grade when a friend noticed her “unibrow” and “thick eyebrows.” Zabell cried to her mom and they went to a salon to get her brows done.
“She took me to the salon, where a kind aesthetician tweezed ‘just the middle,’ at my mom’s request. And I found the sensation kind of…enjoyable—like tugging at your scalp when making a tight ponytail,” Zabell said.
After that, she started plucking on her on. It started out as a simple fix for her eyebrows. Then, she developed a hair pulling habit that worsened over time.
“I’m a puller. I yank out my brows when I feel nervous or worried. On a bad week, you can see my anxiety on my face, if you look closely. Of course, I won’t let you. With makeup, artfully swept bangs, or thick-rimmed glasses, I can hide my habit. And I do, whenever I need to,” she admitted.
Trichotillomania Australia Hair Pulling Disorder: Causes, Signs & Symptoms
According to WebMD, trichotillomania involves a “recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.” It is also associated with the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
According to NHS UK, stress, anxiety, and severe nervousness can trigger trich. In some cases, the habit becomes involuntary that a patient can start hair pulling without any cause.
Patients with trich feel an irresistible urge to pull out hair from the scalp. Afterward, they feel a sense of relief.
With Zabell’s case, she reached a point when her brows were totally gone. She was browless and had to depend on eyebrow pencils and gels to cover up the bald spot.
Trichotillomania Australia Hair Pulling Disorder: Available Treatment
According to NHS UK, there is no single cure for trich. Nevertheless, there is therapies and treatment that one can use to address the disorder.
Zabell sought medical help and searched for therapies that can help her relax and take her mind away from hair pulling. She enrolled in a calligraphy class. It helped her relax and kept her mind away from the tweezing habit. Nonetheless, she admitted that her fight with trich is ongoing.