People who pull their own hair are said to be “bitten” by a strange illness called trichotillomania ("hair-pulling insanity," in Greek). Trichotillomania is a self-inflicted primary psychiatric disorder. It is characterised by an unusual inability to question the urge to pluck one's own hair from its roots.
It is suggested that a good 10 per cent of the population are affected by this bizarre condition worldwide. A majority are said to be women — almost 80 per cent. Some experts surmise that trichotillomania is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The fact is nearly 50 per cent of affected individuals “dump” their pulled hair into their mouth. This is a nasty habit, more so when they chew their hair — to cover up the habit. Chewing hair can lead to dental problems; swallowed hair can precipitate a crisis in the gut. From anaemia, pain in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting of blood to bowel obstruction. Some individuals with trichotillomania often wear sunhats, or apply artificial eyelashes, to cover up their hair loss.
Trichotillomania is far from a cosmetic malady, or “defence,” against personal frustration, stress, or depression. It is as much a mind disorder as it is of the body (physical). This is reason why homeopathy, thanks to its mind-body, holistic approach, is ideally positioned to help us deal with the disorder, providing a safe and enduring resolution from the “compulling” illness. Homeopathy, combined with trichology (scientific study of hair and scalp) not only treats the apparent symptoms, but also goes to the “root cause” of the problem, restoring the individual back to optimal health.
When 24-year-old Jayant (name changed) presented with what was diagnosed as male pattern baldness, it needed trichology to separate hair loss from pulled indulgence. A video microscope magnified Jayant’s scalp 200-plus times. The study showed that each follicle had 2-3 strands pulled out with typical gaps between the hair follicles. There was no evidence of male pattern baldness. When this was followed by a detailed case analysis, it revealed that Jayant used to habitually pull his hair out when under pressure, or stress. His was a classical case of trichotillomania. Jayant responded favourably to Kali Phosphoricum.
Article by Dr. Mukesh Batra
L.C.E.H., F.H.M.A. (U.K.), F.R.S.H. (Med) P.(Lon), M.D.H. (U.S.A.), F.B.I.H.(U.K.)
Published in Times of India on 18 July 2010