Trichotillomania (TTM) is one of the less well known reasons for hair loss but nonetheless it affects over 800,000 women in the UK alone. Katie Hawthorne, a 27 year old artist from West Lothian was amongst this group for many years when she started pulling her hair out aged 15.
Trichotillomania caused by fall
Normally trichotillomania is triggered by a traumatic event or possibly just general anxiety. In Katie’s case it was caused by a fall in which she ended up with a disfiguring scar on her face. As a result, she became very self conscious and stressed about her appearance which resulted in her pulling her hair out. The condition becomes an addiction with the sufferer finding that act of pulling out the hair actually relieves the stress in the short term. Unfortunately, the detrimental effect on the appearance by causing thinning and bald patches exacerbates the underlying anxiety. For Kate this meant six years of not leaving her bedroom and living a hermit like existence
Initially trichotillomania sufferers can be quite effective at hiding the condition but as it develops this becomes more difficult as the damage to the hair becomes more and more obvious. In Katie’s case she managed to keep it to herself for about three years until her mother realised that there was a problem. Fortunately she took it upon herself to carry out some research and then help her daughter seek advice but her local GP was less than helpful.
It pays to speak to a specialist hair loss clinic
It was only years later that Katie really started to make progress after attending a specialist hair loss clinic who recommended a mesh like system that prevents hair being pulled out at roots. The great news for her is that so far the treatment has been successful an in her words “My mum said the first time she saw me I was just oozing confidence,” she said. “I haven’t pulled my hair out since I’ve had it on. It’s made me feel 100% better…I have a new day job now.”