57 answers

Daughter Pulling Out Hair

Hello everyone. I have been going through a tough time with my 12yo daughter. About 3 months ago I noticed her pulling her hair out. She had hair also to her elbows and her ponytail was thicker than a quarter in diameter. Anyhow, I approached her about it and she denied it. Long story short, I had to cut it to her shoulders because it became so thin and sparse it was awful. She of coarse balled and I felt horrible but kids in middle school can be mean and I don't need her being a target for more criticism (she is also visually impaired). Last straw, yesterday I lifted up the left side of her hair and about a half dollar size spot above her ear only has about 10 strands of hair left! Her long beautiful thick blonde hair is gone! I have asked if it is stress, school, boys, friends? etc. and she says she doesn't know why or even realizes she is doing it. This condition is call Tricotelimania and I know it is a BAD HABIT but I was of course wondering if anyone else has been through this before and if there was any advice. I do NOT want to medicate my child. It is only hair and it will grow back. (We have 2 family friends with children touched with cancer and I work with cancer patients everyday and I know that it is only cosmetic.) However, it does have a lot to do with a person's self-esteem and confidence, and she already has her own battles daily with her VI. As a mother, I don't want to see her suffer. Thanks for listening!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

To those who have responded thank you. Yesterday I contacted her endocrinologist whom has ordered lab work for her thyroid and other hormone levels we have been monitoring since she was 10 months old. I am not avoiding this, she does have a medical condition that she was discharged from in September due to the fact that she has been perfect and healthy. Right after she was discharged her periods went to 3x a month and so heavy she leaked through a tampon and a pad in 1 hr. The hair pulling I figured was stress related, but I was getting concerned when I saw the bald spot, so I called her doc. Her hair is coming back in areas she pulled last month. Alopecia is when the hair falls out, so she has little spikes all over but is still pulling what is left. I will keep you updated thank you.

Featured Answers

I just wanted you to know that Tricotelimania is NOT just a bad habit. It is a serious disorder sometimes linked with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). It is very difficult to treat and takes both therapy AND meds to help it. My 13yo has been battling it since 1st grade. Stress makes it worse. Good luck with everything.


2 moms found this helpful

Hi L.,
I know you have had responses already, but I just wanted to add that my son's sensory integration has many implications suggested this as a later issue. We have been able to solve many of the root issues (some of which you already mentioned, but there were more). We worked with a doctor of osteopathy and a homeopath. It is amazing the changes in this type of behavior with my son. I am about to post a seminar where I am hosting both of these doctors speaking on how to solve some of these more complex issues in children. It will be March 13, 14. If you would like to see Dr. West and how she works, see www.drrachelwest.com. Homeopathy is much different treatment, and very powerful, but my homeopath does not have a website. Perhaps hearing her speak could help you know how it would assist. Email me if you would like the flyer, but I am going to try to post it as soon as it is ready.

my closest friend has had trich her whole life.
she is involved in an organization that helps others with trich. you can find them online at http://www.trich.org/
meds are NOT the way to go.
another friend's 7 year old got a lot of relief from tactile alternatives (like squishy balls with lots of rubber hairs on it to fiddle with instead of her own real hair)
good luck.

More Answers

Dear L.,

I've been on Mammasource for a LONG time and have never posted but when I read yours I HAD to. I have had trichtilomania since age 13, when my parents divorced. I don't pull my hair on my head, but I do pull out the ones that have split ends. I pull on my eyebrows and eyelashes and I don't even know I'm doing it most of the time. I have been on numerous meds and in therapy off and on my whole life. I am now a very happy married mom with one son and pray every night that he does not inherit this from me. My docs feel my trichtilomania was "triggered" by stressful events during puberty (my parents divorce) but now that I am in very consistent therapy it has improved drastically. I am 39 years old. I am a nurse at Phoenix Children's Hospital's Neonatal ICU and have always been a straight A student. In fact, I am working on my Master's Degree now and getting a 4.0 GPA. I still struggle with Trichtilomania though! It is something that needs early intervention (which I did NOT get) and can be stopped with "behavioral modificiation".......she needs something else to do with her hands when she has scary/bad thoughts, goes through a tough day at school, etc.........those trigger it.....the National Institute of Health has great info on it too. I think it's NIH.gov but PLEASE know I would be more than happy to talk to you further and give you more details or even talk to your daughter because I understand what she "feels" when it happens. It's like you are not aware you are doing it until you are 1/2 way done.......anyways, I could ramble all day.....


7 moms found this helpful

I just wanted you to know that Tricotelimania is NOT just a bad habit. It is a serious disorder sometimes linked with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). It is very difficult to treat and takes both therapy AND meds to help it. My 13yo has been battling it since 1st grade. Stress makes it worse. Good luck with everything.


2 moms found this helpful

Wow! You've got a lot going on! It is wonderful that you are doing so much to help your daughter rather than waiting for it to go away like some people do.

When you have her blood tests done, (maybe you've already done that now?) be sure to ask them to test her B12. It is not usually part of the standard bloodword which is unfortunate because many people are low in it and it can cause many symptoms that get written off as something else. Read about it online. Here is one article to get you started.


Heavy periods are one of the symptoms as are anxiety, constipation, numbness and tingling, irritablity, fatigue and hair loss (I realize she is pulling hers but I just wanted you to know.)
Low B12 can be a symptom of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Another thing you'll need to look up!
I had tons of symptoms of low B12 and gluten intolerance for YEARS, since I was a child, but the doctors never put them all together. A functional nurtritionist was finally able to diagnose me and I am so happy to feel healthy.

It is genetic. Look up the symptoms and conditions associated with celiac and if your daughter or anyone in her bloodline has them, she should be checked. They can include diarrhea or constipation, gas/bloating or any digestive disorders, canker sores, anemia, osteoperosis, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid conditions, diabetes, ANY autoimmune disorders, cancer (especially digestive cancers)chronic pain, headaches, food allergies, lactose intolerance...There are lots!

ANXIETY and irritablity are very common in children with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Here's a place to start. Good information.

Food allergies and intolerances are found to be responsible for many conditions that doctors can't seem to figure out. It is quite simple that foods we put in our bodies determine how it runs, just like cars. Sometimes it is important to take cartain foods OUT rather than keep adding more and more in. Doctors refuse to acknowledge this sometimes which is strange to me. If we are diabetic we have to limit or remove sugar and carbs so why is it so hard to believe that other conditions can be controlled (not necessarily cured) by removing different foods?

Take care! Contact me if you want to know more.


2 moms found this helpful

Hi L.,
I am curious if you have considered the health effects associated with electro-magnetic frequencies (cell phones, Cordless phones, Wireless Internet) as a possible cause?
I work in this industry and thought it could be a part of the problem. I can help you learn about this if you are interested. Kindly,
Laine Weinstein

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.--I just wanted to echo what a couple of smart/experienced people already said--it is HIGHLY likely that your daughter has trichotillomania, which is thought to be a form of OCD. The best source for info and support is www.tlc.org. You can order a video from them, I think it was $15, that is VERY informative and helpful. Go ahead and look for hormonal imbalances and such but please contact the TLC office also. The more support and understanding you can offer your daughter at this age, the better.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

I missed your original request. Sorry, I just read it this morning. I strongly suggest that you log onto site NAET.com. When things like this happen it is a clear indication of symptoms of food allergies. Yes food allergies. NAET.com are a group of allergists around the world who treat and eliminate allergies. They are the only doctors in the world who Elimiate allergies. If food allergies go untreated they can lead to mental illness as well as physical illnesses.

I am 37 years old and have had severe allergies my entire life. I am currenlty being treated once a week by an NAET allergist in my area. And allergy elimination are happening.

I am also completing my degree in Nutrition Science, and I can answer your questions.

NAET.com has a doctor locator where you can find an NAET doctor close to your home for testing.

any questions, my email - ____@____.com

Be Well.


1 mom found this helpful

My heart goes out to you and your daughter. I also had this problem for many years. I thought it was stress or OCD. But when I started taking Shaklee vitamins after awhile, I realized I was not doing it anymore. I believe it was the calcium magnesium that helped. My periods were also regulated and shortened.
You can check the vitamins out at http://www.shaklee.net/healthforlife
Hope you find a solution.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.. I know Tricotelimania well, as I work with children and adults to heal this habit. Actually, it is an anxiety disorder---a manifestation of stress, and is more common among children than most people realize. Wherever you live, I suggest you find an experienced hypnotherapist to deal with the problem efficiently. Drugs are not necessary.

Best wishes,
R. Conte
Clincial Hypnotist/Hypnotherapist
Stress Management Expert

1 mom found this helpful

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