How Can You Help Someone With Trichotillomania?

Estimated reading time: 2 minute, 45 seconds

Key Takeaways:

  • Research Trichotillomania
  • Ask your loved one what they need support with
  • Listen!

Trichotillomania, a hair-pulling disorder, can be significantly distressing for the affected person. Defined as a mental disorder, trichotillomania causes sufferers to repetitively pull out their hair from areas on their body, mainly their scalp, resulting in hair thinning, bald patches, and sores. While some people can manage the symptoms thanks to trichotillomania treatment, having the condition can often lead to feelings of embarrassment or shame.

When you see a loved one is suffering like this, you might feel inclined to jump in and help but the thing with trichotillomania is, it’s more than just a habit. It’s a condition that sufferers can’t control, and friends or family telling a person to ‘just stop it’ won’t help. It’s important to remember that you won’t be able to fix a person’s trichotillomania. Instead, here are three ways that you can show support.

Learn about the disorder

One of the best things you can do to support your loved one is to learn about trichotillomania. The likelihood is, you might not have heard of the condition before, so before you try and support a family member or friend who is suffering from it, you should probably do your research. Ultimately, if you start to play a guessing game when helping a loved one, you could end up making things worse for them.

Listen, don’t patronize

OK, so you’ve done your research, now what? Although you’ll find it beneficial to learn about the condition, it’s important that you mustn’t suddenly class yourself as an ‘expert’, especially when speaking to your loved one.

Empathize, don’t patronize, and that means lending a listening ear when your loved one is ready to speak to you. Remember, going in hard and directly confronting a person about the condition could result in them getting defensive and upset. Instead, approach the situation with care, compassion, and respect, helping to create a safe space for your loved one, where they won’t feel judged. 

Ask them how you can help

While it’s important to understand the condition, it’s equally as vital that you try to better understand how your loved one feels. You can do this by asking them how you can help. Ask them how you can offer them support.

And remember, at first, they might say you can’t help, and it’s important that you try not to take this personally. We would advise against pressurizing a person to speak if they’re not comfortable. We would instead encourage you to give them space but check up on them regularly. 

As a result of having trichotillomania, a person might find themselves pushing their loved ones away. Although this can be difficult to understand, you need to remember this is a coping mechanism. You must find a good balance between remaining present in a person’s life and reassuring them, but also recognizing when you need to give them space.

Having researched the condition and spoken to your loved one about trichotillomania, you might feel more confident to signpost them towards further support. If you or someone you know is suffering from the disorder, book your free consultation with NJ Hair Center. We’ve created a non-surgical solution called PerfectMatch, designed to instantly deliver a full head of hair, promising results and, best of all, happiness.