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Tips on how to stop pulling your hair (Trichotillomania)

Trichotillomania - the act of pulling your hair, is a hard thing to overcome. This compulsive act affects millions, and is often accompanied by feelings of anxiety.


Here are a few tips that may help you:

Identify your triggers‍

What happens just before you start pulling your hair? Is it certain events that only make you feel that way?  It might be helpful to get a notebook so that you can jot down the times and events that took place before you started pulling your hair.


Identify your emotions

What emotions do you feel before you have the urge to pull your hair? Do you feel angry? Or anxious? Or annoyed? Often when people feel anxiety,  the pulling of hair gives a feeling of relief. In turn, this relief response reinforces the hair pulling behaviour.

Understanding what precipitates your hair pulling/ feelings of anxiousness may help you find other mechanisms that my help you cope with the situation.


‍Develop a plan

A popular plan that may help is to - Notice, Interrupt and Choose. This method simply involves you noticing when you are wanting to pull your hairs, interrupt that thought pattern and then choosing to not pull your hair, and try to focus on another method of relief instead. Of course, this is easier said than done, however, it is helpful to be mindful of your thought processes.

Some examples of alternative actions instead of hair pulling may include:

  • Squeezing a stress ball
  • Using a fidget toy
  • If you pull hair from your head - wearing a tight fitting hat or tying your hair up
  • Wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it everytime you feel like pulling your hair


Find local support

Talking to others may help you feel that you are not alone in this. Either find a friend or family member that you can talk openly to, or maybe join a support group. If you find it helpful to have reminders to not pull your hair, request your friend or family to help keep you in check. Joining a support group will also allow you to surround yourself with others who are going through similar situations, and may have ideas or other coping mechanisms that you may not have thought of.


Be kind to yourself

If you pull out some hair, it is okay. During times like this, remind yourself of your positive qualities or redirect your negative thoughts into positive ones. For example:

“Im such an idiot, I can never control my hair pulling actions” into “ Its okay, I have controlled the past 2 urges I have had to pull my hair, and I have only just slipped up. Next time I'll make it to controlling 3 urges”.


Learn more about trichotillomania at Seribu Tujuan