Trichotillomania is an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder wherein a person has a compulsion to pull out hair from different parts of the body. It usually starts to manifest in individuals at around the age of twelve but symptoms may manifest as early as childhood. It is a sad and painful behavioral disorder. Some individuals who suffer from this disorder have a compelling urge to pull out their eyelashes.
If you are one of the millions of Americans that has this disorder, there are therapies available to help you. Here’s what you can do to stop pulling out your eyelashes.
- Distract yourself with other activities. Keeping your hands busy with other things such as writing or clicking on a pen may help you stop pulling out your hair. Sometimes, you may even need to sit on your hands to stop yourself from pulling out your eyelashes.
- Avoid passive activities such as reading or watching TV. Leaving your hands free with a distracted activity may make you pull out your eyelashes without even realizing it. If you do read, make sure to hold the book or magazine with both hands.
- Wear mittens. Make it difficult for yourself to pull out your eyelashes by making your hand unavailable.
- Coat the eyelashes with petroleum jelly to make it difficult to grasp it. One of the reasons why individuals who suffer from this disorder pull hair is that the texture, length and feel of each individual hair is fascinating and seizes their attention. If you make your eyelashes slippery and wear mittens at the same time, it will pretty much render you incapable of pulling any body hair.
- If you feel the urge to pull your eyelashes, go in front of a mirror. If you see yourself doing the activity, it may deter you from completing it. While you’re standing in front of the mirror, say positive affirmations to yourself to distract you from your behavior and to refocus your attention.
- Identify situational triggers so you can learn to avoid them. Do you pull you hair when you are bored, stressed or distracted? Do you do it when you are at home only or when you are by yourself? Identifying the situations that compel you to pull your eyelashes will make you aware and will aid you in avoiding these situational traps.
- Seek professional help. There is cognitive behavior therapy available wherein a therapist can help you modify your behavior. It may take some time but it will be worth the effort.
- Consider alternative treatments. Yoga, meditation, positive affirmations, diet modification and herbal remedies may help. Do your research and see what works for you. It may take trial and error since different treatments affect individuals differently. You may also discuss options with your doctor.
- Join a support group. There is help and support available to families and individuals suffering from this disorder. Get information on the Trichotillomania Learning Center. Check out their website at www.trich.org. You are not alone. It is estimated that one in every 50 Americans suffers from this disorder.
There is help available. If you or someone you know is affected by this, do your research and seek treatment options that will work best for you. Get help as soon as possible so you don’t have to wait until your eyes go bald before seeking help.