Is anxiety a booster or a direct cause for hair pulling condition?
There has been lots of discussion about if the anxiety is a catalyzer for trichotillomania or the direct cause of hair pulling disorder. People usually ask this question, whether anxiety is the reason for hair pulling or it just makes the habit more common.
On one hand, people say that anxiety is one of the causes of trichotillomania or hair pulling disorder. It is because of the depression and anxiety that are both often found in people with trichotillomania. Moreover, many cases of hair pulling disorder are triggered by stress. People with such conditions start hair pulling when they feel high stress.
On the other hand, many people believe that the reason for hair pulling is completely different. They consider trichotillomania as addictive behavior. This school of thought believes that people with hair pulling disorder pull hair when they are anxious and not because they are anxious.
The Trichotillomania Cycle Effect
Unluckily, many people suffering from trichotillomania feel a kind of “cycle effect” between anxiety and hair pulling. Even if anxiety is the cause to trigger this behavior in the first place, it factors in soon. For instance, think of a stressful situation coming up to a person with trichotillomania that is susceptible to stress. That person will begin to pull hair out to overcome the stress and the actual physical behavior of hair pulling begins to cause more stress.
People with trichotillomania wonder what is wrong with them, why they are pulling hair, and why they can’t stop this behavior. The anxiety can persist even after the hair pulling behavior stops. People with hair pulling disorder mostly remain stressed after pulling hair as they fear what people will think of them when they know that they are regularly pulling hairs.
More research required
Research hardly touches the surface related to the spiteful cycle between hair pulling behavior and anxiety. Anxiety is not the reason for trichotillomania but it is a common trigger for people who have hair pulling disorder.
People often look for help regarding anxiety but don’t address hair pulling in the treatment or therapy with the thought that it might be a separate issue. But when trichotillomania and anxiety and interrelated, therapy must take on an all-inclusive approach. Being aware that anxiety initiate hair pulling and consciously working to overcome anxiety before the pulling urge happens can significantly decrease hair pulling as well.
Keeping a daily record of your anxiety patterns as well as hair pulling trends can help you in this regard. If you realize that anxiety is behind your hair pulling behavior, the best bet to cope with the hair-pulling would be to look for healthier, alternate ways to overcome the anxiety. Activities such as meditation, mindfulness, breathing, or even talking to a supportive friend or family member can be helpful. The main thing is to explore and know what works well for you as an individual.