Trichotillomania :: Trichotillomania or Tricholomania

We’ve all heard that you can’t judge a book by its cover, and that is certainly true of Trichotillomania. The Medusa-like figure on the jacket suggests that patients with trichotillomania are evil, mythical creatures, rather than real people with a troublesome disorder. Fortunately, the authors are well aware of the difficulties faced by these patients; they do a superb job of characterizing the clinical aspects of the disorder and providing a careful review of its pathophysiologic features and treatment. Francois Hallopeau, a French dermatologist, coined the term trichotillomania by combining the Greek words trichos (meaning hair), tillein (meaning to pull), and mania (meaning madness, or an abnormal penchant or morbid impulse). Although mania has since come to be regarded as a form of psychosis, the term accurately describes the compulsive nature of hair pulling.

Trichotillomania :: Causes of Trichotillomania – Tricholomania

The cause of trichotillomania is not known. Because hair has prominent symbolic importance in most cultures and has been equated with beauty in women and power in men, it is not surprising that various psychological interpretations of hair pulling have been proposed. Some emphasize principles of learning and conditioning as critical mechanisms in the genesis and development of trichotillomania. Other explanations suggest that biological factors play significant roles. So far, the validity of these explanations has not been established using systematic scientific methods. It is likely that more than one mechanism is responsible for the disorder.