Let’s face it. If you are a parent of a child with trichotillomania, you might feel embarrassed, scared and confused. It sounds like such a bizarre bodily disorder. But is it really?
Trichotillomania (trick-o-til-o-MAY-nee-ah) is a disorder that makes people want to pull out their hair. It is sometimes a reaction to stressful circumstances (family tension, performance at school, etc.). Before you start pulling out your own hair in frustration, try these eight practical tips to manage your child’s trichotillomania.
1. Have Greater Awareness
The first thing you should know as a parent is that trichotillomania is not as uncommon as you might think. According to Time magazine, trich affects about two million people in America. It is also not uncommon for it to start occurring during the stressful adolescent phase, with most kids starting to show symptoms at age 12. Understand that the act of pulling out hair often brings your child instant gratification and may even feel good. They need your unconditional love and support through this difficulttime.
2. Use Open Communication
If it is hard to talk about the condition with your child or young adult, find support groups with kids their age with whom they can talk about their trich. If there are no groups in your area, check online for support forums.
3. Look to Celebrity Examples
It always helps kids to have a role model. Let your child know that even successful people like Olivia Munn, Charlize Theron and Megan Fox have had to deal with trichotillomania. Justin Timberlake and Leonardo di Caprio have admitted to OCD disorder, of which trich is sometimes a symptom. The disorder can happen to the best of us, but it is not insurmountable.
4. Try Activities for Fidgety Fingers
You can help your child’s irresistible urge to use his or her fingers to pull out hair by giving those fingers something else to do. Who knows, your child might just excel at watercolor painting, typing, playing piano or needle-work. Find out what activities they like to do and use those to help their hands stay focused. Some other ideas are play dough, silly putty or cooking lessons.
5. Set up a De-Stress Time
Try to help your child identify exact times of the day when he or she feels the uncontrollable urge to pull out hair. This can often be before bedtime, when kids are alone and feeling insecure. If so, play soothing music before bed. Schedule time to do relaxing activities, like a warm bath or even kid-friendly yoga.
6. Cover the Hands
Sometimes the saying “out of sight, out of mind” can help. Let your child or teen try dressing up their hands in cool gloves to stop their fingers from wandering to the scalp.
7. Experiment with Beauty Products and Makeup
Because hair loss can lead your child to have debilitating problems with low self-esteem, help him or her focus on body image in a fun, playful way. Let him or her get into makeup a bit, if they like it, or introduce beauty products that enhance healthy hair. Let your adolescent see that you sincerely care that he or she has a healthy body image, too.
8. Help from Hypnotherapy
Also called trichnotherapy, this method has proven to work for patients because the part of the brain that trichotillomania affects is, in fact, near the memory center. A good therapist can help your child work with certain memories or do brain exercises that will help to heal his or her mind and body. Hypnotherapy can aid in assessing your child’s life and circumstances to “get to the root” of this problem.
Full recovery from trichotillomania is possible, and with the right help, understanding and communication, your child will be on the way to complete health, happiness and a full head of hair. If your child is suffering from trich and needs a hair replacement option to help conceal their hair pulling, then we are here to help. At Invisions Hair Replacement studio we offer many options to hair replacement. We invite you to a free consultation and you can make an appointment by calling (800) 842-4247 or clicking here!
Photo Credit: Sophie Via Flickr Creative Commons
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