Hair Pulling

Amy - posted on 03/23/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )




My 4 1/2 year old son was diagnosed about 2 years ago with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has beed going to school/therapy since age 3. He has just recently started pulling out his hair. I have caught him at it and stopped him, but I have seen a lot of hair in the garbage. I just had him on my lap to discover that he has a bald spot on his head now.

Has anyone dealt with anything like this before?


Dree - posted on 03/24/2010




My almost 15 yr old son has this exact same condition...its called Trichotillomania. I know in my sons case it was brought about because of HIGH anxiety levels. Trichotillomania may sometimes be evidence of more severe emotional distress or a manifestation of obsessive compulsive disorder. In addition, children who swallow their plucked hair may develop a gastric trichobezoar. It is a hair-pulling disorder, is a mental disorder that involves an irresistible urge to pull out hair. This behavior occurs to the point of noticeable hair loss. The most common areas for hair pulling are the scalp, eyelashes, and eyebrows, but may involve hair anywhere on the body.

Trichotillomania is a type of impulse control disorder. Impulse control disorders are mental illnesses that involve the repeated failure to resist impulses, or urges, to act in ways that are dangerous or harmful. People with these disorders know that they can hurt themselves or others by acting on the impulses, but they cannot stop themselves.

A person with trichotillomania cannot control or resist the urge to pull out his or her body hair. Other symptoms that might occur with this disorder include:

A sense of tension before pulling hair or when trying to resist the urge to pull hair
A feeling of relief, satisfaction, and/or pleasure after acting on the impulse to pull hair
Presence of bare patches where the hair has been pulled out
Presence of other associated behaviors such as inspecting the hair root, twirling the hair, pulling the hair between the teeth, chewing on the hair, or eating hair (called trichophagia)

There is no known way to prevent trichotillomania. However, getting treatment as soon as symptoms appear might help decrease any possible disruption to the person's life, family, and friendships. Stress reduction also might help, since stress often triggers the hair pulling behavior.

I hope this helps you out some!!!!


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Danette - posted on 12/10/2013




my son did this at age 3-6 and I finaly had his hair shaved for about a year and a half and this stopped the hair pulling. He never did it again. I have so many photos of him with bald spots at that age so sad.

Damaris - posted on 11/07/2013




My son started doing this but only in frustrating situations. I too am at loss for words and don't know what to do. I've tried explaining that is not ok to do so but the frustration in him gets the best of him. I decided to cut his hair really short and that helped a bit.

Joanna - posted on 09/16/2013




Hi Amy yes I have, I have a 13 year old Daughter and I could imagine it gets stressful all the time. My daughter didn't do it for a long time and recently started doing it I had taken that away from her. What I did was when she goes to sleep I would put like a rag on her so she won't pull her hair even when she gets up cause that's showing them not to pull their hair, or anything object he can play with his hands like a toy or a book, maybe blocks, or playing with a ball. Any of that so he won't pull his hair I hope these things work for you I which you the best Amy.

Kelly - posted on 03/25/2010




Hi Amy,
It sounds like your son has Trichotillomania. At least symptoms of it. Below is a link you can check out. It is 'related' ir in the realm of OCD. Hope this helps. OH, I just saw the posts below. Same conclusion. Check out the fact sheet anyway. Good luck!
Kelly Haugh

Sandy - posted on 03/24/2010




My daughter did this when she was younger. While sucking her thumb she pulled on her hair. She is not ASD and did grow out of it eventually. Meanwhile, we have several picture of her will very thin spots on her head. lol

Since he is a boy, maybe getting his hair cut very short so he breaks the habit of pulling on it.

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