Hair-pulling disorder likely linked to stress

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 29, 2020
By: Wu Liang-yi / Staff reporter

A rare mental disorder called trichotillomania that manifests itself in people pulling out their own hair is most likely triggered by stress, Taipei Medical University Hospital psychiatrist Tsai Shang-ying (蔡尚穎) has said.

Citing a patient of his as an example, Tsai said that the university student said that he had been ostracized by his peers since junior-high school, and that he would pull out his hair whenever he felt anxious, to the point that his head has bald patches.

The syndrome has an incidence rate of about 1 percent, which translates into one teenager per three to four classrooms, he said.

The syndrome is not limited to the scalp and can sometimes involve the removal of eyebrows, and in extreme cases can become so severe that it affects a patient’s social life, he added.

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