There are many theories about causes and triggers of hair pulling. Many believe there is a genetic element to Trichotillomania and that some people carry a gene which leaves us with less impulse control than others. It is also commonly thought that hair pulling can result from trying to gain control over some part of our lives. There is a theory that all impulse control disorders are connected with loss.
Chief coach at BFRB Support, Neo, says "I have noticed many different causes of hair pulling in my 20 or so years helping people to stop picking. In the early days we used to think it was trauma induced, but nowadays we see many more children with BFRBs, which can help us draw more conclusions. Today I believe that lots of people carry the BFRB gene, yet it often remains dormant, meaning the carrier will not pick. I believe the gene can be triggered by a combination of experiences. On the other hand I have also treated babies with trichotillomania who have absolutely loving parents and have not experienced any trauma, or had any infections such as strep throat, so these cases, I would say, were purely genetic".
We can help with all BFRBs, just ask.
Research projects can help to shed more light on the disorder and treatment possibilities. You can read a research proposal "Assessing themes that may contribute to individuals developing Trichotillomania" by Barbara Doughty
If you are interested in carrying out a research project and would like any help or involvement from us; please contact us. We are always happy to help improve knowledge of trichotillomania in any way we can.
Trichotillomania Support, Spada House, 20 Regent Close, London N12.