What is the Diagnostic Criteria for Trichotillomania?

About Trichotillomania:

Trichotillomania refers to a psychiatric condition characterized by a habit of pulling hair. This results in substantial hair loss of the individual along with other functional impairments. This habit can sometimes be a cause of distress in people. Trichotillomania although discussed was not a part of mental health disorder until its induction in 1987 even though this condition has been observed for centuries [1].

What exactly causes Trichotillomania is not fully understood and the research is still ongoing. However, some studies suggest genetic link to this condition along with certain environmental factors. These studies have opined that an individual with first degree relatives with Trichotillomania has more risk of developing this condition than others even though it is rare that he or she may actually develop it [2].

Some people have a habit of pulling their hairs when they are in extreme stress such as during a hard day at work. On the other hand, some people tend to pull at their hairs as a means of relaxing themselves like when watching television or at a football match. Some studies suggest the role of anxiety in the development of Trichotillomania however this has not been corroborated by clinical evidence [2].

For appropriate treatment of this condition it is important to identify the diagnostic criteria for Trichotillomania. This article gives an overview of the diagnostic criteria for Trichotillomania [1].

What is the Diagnostic Criteria for Trichotillomania?

For a condition to be identified and treated, there are certain diagnostic criteria that need to be met. This is true for all medical conditions and Trichotillomania is no exception. There are various habits which when observed proves that an individual has Trichotillomania [1].

If an individual has a habit of pulling the hairs constantly and frequently such that there is significant hair loss then it can be considered as a criterion for Trichotillomania.

The second criterion is repeated failed attempts by an individual to stop this habit of pulling the hairs. This can be observed by ones behavior by coworkers and peers [1].
The third criterion to look out for is social withdrawal of the individual and other professional and familial problems that the individual contends with due to the habit of pulling the hairs. If the hair pulling cannot be connected or linked to any other medical condition then it is believed to be a diagnostic criterion for Trichotillomania [1].

If the individual has no history of any mental illness that has been diagnosed and the symptoms of hair pulling cannot be attributed to any other mental health condition then again it fulfills the diagnostic criteria for Trichotillomania [1].

In conclusion, Trichotillomania is a mental health condition in which the affected individual pulls the hairs to such an extent that there is significant damage to the hair and profound hair loss. There is no known cause to it as the condition is still being researched [2].

There are certain diagnostic criteria that need to be met in order for a physician to diagnose an individual with this condition. Once a confirmed diagnosis is made then treatment either in the form of psychotherapy or medications is administered to treat this condition [1].

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