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US boy pulls out own hair


Max Sherwood Trichotillomania1The media on both sides of the Atlantic was last week reporting on the case of an 11 year-old American boy who has pulled out much of his hair due to a psychological disorder.

Max Sherwood, who lives in the US state of Iowa, began pulling his eyebrows out during his second grade of school, aged around 8. After stopping briefly, he then began to pull the hair out of his scalp at age ten. This resulted in bald patches on his scalp, and his mother was very worried.

After finding out that her son suffered from Trichotillomania, a habitual psychological disorder in which the sufferer pulls his or her own hair out, mother Candace tried to learn as much as she could about the condition. After attending a conference on Trichotillomania, she discovered a US charitable organisation called the Hair Club for Kids. They provide children in America with free hair pieces to conceal or treat their hair loss.

Young Max was fitted with a synthetic hairpiece which is woven into the hair, and is designed to prevent Trichotillomania sufferers from being able to pull their hair out.  His mother explained that, “because of the glue in the hair system, he couldn’t pull his hair out and he retrained his brain to focus on things other than pulling his hair.” It seems that the new hair system worked, as mum reports that he stopped pulling his hair out after several months.

What is Trichotillomania?

Unlike other common hair loss conditions such as Alopecia and Male Pattern Baldness, Trichotillomania is self-inflicted. It is caused by a psychological obsession with hair, which results in sufferers twisting, pulling and plucking strands of hair out on a regular basis. The scalp is the most common area which is selected for this hair-pulling, but eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair and other body hair can also be the target in some cases.

In many cases, the Trichotillomania sufferer is not even aware of what they are doing, as it becomes a sub-conscious and automatic action. As the condition continues it can lead to bald patches and thinning of the hair.

Treatments for Trichotillomania

The key to treating Trichotillomania lies in weaning oneself off the habit. In Max’s case, his mother says that he now stretches an elastic band instead of pulling his hair out. Provided that the hair follicles are still intact, the hair can and will fully re-grow.

A non-surgical hair replacement such as that featured in this story can be used to not only hide the hair loss but also prevent the person from pulling out further hair. The Belgravia Centre uses this method to successfully treat Trichotillomania sufferers, along with pharmaceutical treatments if necessary.

If you or a member of your family suffer from Trichotillomania, we can help. Our hair loss experts have had a lot of experience in treating Trichotillomania, and most other hair loss conditions.

For more information on how we can help, contact us for a consultation with no obligation. Alternatively, fill in our online diagnostic form for our worldwide mail-order service.

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