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@thetrichprof is Professor Clare Mackay, who has had trichotillomania since she was 12 years old. @thetrichprof is investigating mechanisms and developing interventions for body-focused repetitive behaviours, a well as raising awareness and reducing stigma associated with these disorders.



Trichotillomania, or hair-pulling disorder, is an example of a body focused repetitive behaving (alongside skin-picking and nail-biting). Most people engage in some pulling/picking/biting as part of normal grooming behaviour, but some people experience uncontrollable urges to persist to a destructive extent.  

These disorders are under-recognised, and underestimated in terms of distress and functional impairment. Individuals can spend decades of their lives blighted by behaviours they cannot control, and for which there is little/no understanding or support available. As such, these are some of the most highly stigmatised of all mental health conditions. 

More research is needed to understand the mechanisms and develop interventions for BFRBs. 

A perspective article  can be found here

@thetrichprof has written about her lived experience with trichotillomania, alongside some of the key facts and figures

You can Listen to an interview on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour (from 27 minutes)

Or a longer interview on the 'Trich Talks' podcast

Follow @thetrichprof on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

For those seeking information and support for pulling/picking/biting disorders (either for yourself or a loved one), BFRB UK & Ireland is a good resource. There are also a number of good Facebook support groups (including BFRB UK&I) where you can stay anonymous if you prefer.  

Infographic on trichotillomania created by Clare MackayShows:1.7% of people have trichotillomania (1.1m in UK)4:1 ration of female to male in clinical trials but community studies suggest equally affected50% never seek treatment & less than half who did felt their healthcare provider was aware of disorderCauses high levels of distress and difficulties with social, occupational and leisure activitiesTriggers include sensory, emotional, automatic & people can be unaware they are doing itCo-morbidities are common but 20% are 'pure'Sources: Woods et al (2006); Grant et al (2020)© Clare Mackay