The Mayo clinic describes Trichotillomania, as an obsessive compulsive disorder, (OCD}, where hair from the scalp or eyelids is pulled out. In severe cases, the hair is eaten. I have dealt with this disorder for several decades. It began when I worked in a collection department in 1980.
At that time, the company only had 2 long distance lines. we had to watch the wall, and when one of two red lights turned green, we could make a long distance call. One day, as I was waiting, my supervisor walked over to me. She asked why I was twisting my hair. At that time, my hair was shoulder length. And I would twist a few strands in my hands.
Over time, my husband and children would grab my hand and tell me to leave me hair alone. By this time I was pulling on a specific section of hair in the back center of my head. It got so bad, that 4 different times, my husband had to cut my hair completely off, because the hair I pulled left a bald spot.
Each time my hair grew back to a certain length, I would twirl it in the same spot. Once it began breaking off, I would grab the short strands and pull tightly from the root. never yanked my hair out from the root. I would just pull on it. Of course the constant tugging caused breakage.
Each time I pulled my hair, I experienced a sense of peace and well being. I liken it to the warm feeling you get when someone you love gives you a hug. I would feel good all over, and wondered if this action were releasing feel good endorphins.
There is no specific reason given for this disorder, and know known cure. I believed I might have found deliverance, when I was on Paxil for a time because of panic attacks. This drug is also supposed to help with OCD, but it had no effect on my pulling my hair.
I have had to find my own ways to cope. And hope my experience will help someone else. First I accepted that this was part of my chemical makeup. There is not a perfect person in the world, and obviously this is my cross to bear.
I could remember in childhood, looking at the back of my brothers necks, and it seemed they were itching. I would scratch their necks and experience a sense of relief. Or I would tickle their necks and feel relieved as I watched them scratch.
I also would have days where I blinked my eyes over and over, or constantly cleared my throat. I was a very thin, shy child, and was often teased, and put on the spot in crowds, even as a teen. I have to wonder if this played a part.
Regarding the hair pulling, the urge seems to increase during times of stress, or when I do not get proper rest. I found that if I wore a wig, scarf, or hat, the urge was not as strong. I realized the gentle pressure on my scalp decreased the urges. I began massaging my scalp often, or getting my husband to massage gently in the area I have trouble,
I found wearing my hair in a pony tail, or using a wide headband also brings adds gentle pressure and gives relief. When I do these things the urge decreases. It does not however go completely away. To relax, I drink lots of hot tea, and cocoa. I read books, and listen to Christian worship music.