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. [...]
[...] In addition to being linked to mood disorders, Hanna also notes that trichotillomania has typically been diagnosed as an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Because the individual often engages in a number of compulsive disorders in the presence of this diagnosis, a specific diagnosis of trichotillomania is often not possible. According to Hanna: “Some reports of commented in particular, on a possible relationship between trichotillomania in excess of compulsive disorder suggesting that we belong to a spectrum of disorders having in common pathologic compulsions of excessive grooming. [...]
[...] Kress, Brandy and McCormick (2004) in their investigation of this disorder make the observation that at the present time trichotillomania affects approximately million people or of the population in United States. Although methods to diagnose the disorder have improved in recent years, these authors assert that he prevalence rate of trichotillomania is vastly underestimated due to the fact that this condition typically occurs comorbid with other mental disorders. Further, these authors note that individual suffering from trichotillomania often go to great lengths to conceal his condition because of the social stigma associated with hair loss. [...]
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