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  1. Introduction
  2. Trichotillomania?An Overview
  3. Etiology of Trichotillomania
  4. Characteristics of the Condition
  5. Diagnosis
  6. Treatment of Trichotillomania
  7. Legal, Ethical and Cultural Implications


Over the course of the last several years, medical professionals and psychologists have developed a wide range of new methods for categorizing and classifying disease and dysfunction. Among the most inched in classifications to be made in recent years has been the diagnosis of trichotillomania. As indicated by its name, this condition represents a significant problem with the individual's impulse control. Specifically, the American psychological Association in the DSM-IV-TR (2000) has noted that, trichotillomania is the recurrent process of pulling out one's hair. The disorder involves increasing tension before the hair is pulled out and the experience of gratification once the act is complete. In order for a diagnosis of trichotillomania to be complete, the individual must experience significant distress from hair pulling which results in social or occupational impairment.
For most laypeople, a diagnosis of trichotillomania may seem quite unusual. The act of pulling out one's hair is not a typical behavior. However, to professionals working in psychology, individuals presenting with this condition can pose a considerable threat to their overall health and well-being. For this reason, professionals need to understand this condition and the implications that it has for the overall development of the individual.

[...] Legal, Ethical and Cultural Implications At the present time, the status of the research on trichotillomania reveals that there is not considerable data, which demonstrates the overall effectiveness of treatment or interventions. From an ethical standpoint, the psychologist is faced with the daunting task of both diagnosing this disorder and providing a treatment protocol that will effectively help the patient. Although current research does provide some insight into what could potentially be used, it is evident that there are no developed ?best practices? when it comes to the management of this disorder. [...]

[...] Other sources suggest that trichotillomania may be a type of OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder], although that theory is debatable. Others believe that childhood trichotillomania is simply a manifestation of my frustrations, analogous to nail biting or thumb-sucking. In children, Isidro commonly arises at times other psychosocial stress within the family unit, such as moving to new house, hospitalization, develop problems, period of separation or a disturbed mother-child relationship (p. 332). Papadopoulos goes on to note that at the present time there are a few professionals who believe that the condition has a true physiological origin. [...]

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