Trichotillomania: Treating Patients Sensitively
Trichotillomania (TTM) usually co-exists with shyness and low self-esteem, although some people hide it very well. Most people with TTM will find it hard to discuss so it’s important that you handle the issue sensitively. Of 5,729 people who had approached their doctor about TTM, 52% found their doctors response unhelpful or poor.
You can put them at ease by reassuring your patient that this is a common disorder affecting around 3% of the population, and that many people with this disorder lead otherwise normal lives.
Please help us in our endeavor for Good Practice in the treatment of trichotillomania.
Below are some of the most shocking experiences people have had discussing trichotillomania with their doctor; I’m sure you want to avoid this!
"I visited one GP regarding my eyelashes and his only response was to laugh at me and make fun of me even after I told him I was self conscious about my appearance, that is professionalism at its best. I do not know who to visit that will actually listen to what I am saying and take me seriously."
"My mother took me to the doctor, he told her to tie my hands together!!!"
"Went with my father when it first started and the GP dismissed it as a teenage thing and told us we were being melodramatic . Never had the guts to take it to another GP."
"It seemed like she was very disapproving and judgemental. Because i hated talking to her, and nothing was changing, I let her proscribe me Seroxat and I took it for a couple of months. All that happened was that I lost my appetite and lost weight."
"Sat in GPs office and explained whilst crying that I pull out my own hair. He said he’d never come across it before and decided I must have depression and gave me a prescription for prozac which I did not fetch."
"Once went to a GP and he sent me away, saying I had eyeliner on and I pulled my lashes so there was nothing he could do for me."
"GP doesnt want to know and keeps telling me I'll grow out of it, I'm now 24!"
"The only doctor I did ask about it made me feel such an idiot I never asked again. Why do they make you feel ashamed about this? Being ashamed doesn't help to stop the pulling. I want to stop or I wouldn't have asked for help!"
"My doctor told me that the condition I had was cosmetic and refused to give me any help, she still insists that there is nothing wrong with me."
"The doctors said that it was OCD."
"I have never admitted it. I made out it was alopecia to excuse the embarrassment."
"Mentioned it to doctor who gave me the name of the condition (whilst laughing) but no help. Most doctors appear not to know anything about trich."
"I have never seen a Dr. for this because I was too embarassed of my problem,I thought the Dr wouldnt understand but now that I know there are more people like me I think I can now feel more comfortable talking to a professional"