Patient Care

Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling Disorder)

What is Trichotillomania?

Trichotillomania is a mental health disorder where the affected individuals repeatedly pull out hair from any part of their body (e.g. scalp, eyebrow, eyelash) and are unable to stop themselves from doing so (uncontrollable).

The common obvious impact for the affected individuals is having patchy bald spots and significant hair loss, leading to distress from the negative change in their physical appearance. Trichotillomania can affect both men and women of all ages. The hair-pulling behaviours are often related and in response to stress from school, work, family or social aspects of the individual's life.

Difficulties in stopping the hair-pulling behaviours can result in irreversible hair loss, and likely to improve without adequate treatment. Affected individuals may also engage in other repeated and uncontrollable behaviours such as skin-picking and nail-biting.

What are the signs & symptoms of Trichotillomania?
  • Repeated pulling out of hair from any part of the body
    • Can be short and brief periods multiple times a day, or continuous for hours
    • Can be from one or more parts of the body
  • Hair loss in areas where hair is being pulled out
  • Difficulties in resisting the urge to pull out one's hair
  • The hair-pulling behaviour may come and go, lasting from a few weeks or months or years, and vary in severity and intensity each time
  • Brief moments of relief when pulling out hair
  • Feeling worried, upset or embarrassed by the hair loss
  • Struggles or takes great effort to cover up hair loss
  • Difficulties engaging in school, work, social and leisure activities due to hair loss
What are the treatment options for Trichotillomania?

If you experience more than one of the symptoms listed above, you are strongly encouraged to seek advice from a psychiatrist or mental healthcare professional.

Treatment for Trichotillomania include:


Medications such as Tricycline anti-depressants and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors may be prescribed to help with anxiety or the negative emotions that may underlie the through hair-pulling behaviour.


Learn and understand the emotional difficulties that may underlie the behaviour as well as helpful and relevant skills and strategies to cope with emotional difficulties and manage urges to pull out hair.

Social or family support

Engage in relevant resources or support programmes to deal with practical and stressful situations in daily lives. Caregivers and loved ones can learn how to support affected individuals.

Other possible or related medical and mental health conditions can be considered and treated accordingly.

Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

You can search by -
  • Condition name 'Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling Disorder)' AND
  • Institution
1E Kent Ridge Road, NUHS Tower Block, Singapore 119228
Last updated on
Best viewed with Chrome 79.0, Edge 112.0, Firefox 61.0, Safari 11
National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
  • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
  • Alexandra Hospital
  • Jurong Community Hospital
  • National University Polyclinics
  • Jurong Medical Centre
  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
  • NUHS Diagnostics
  • NUHS Pharmacy
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
Back to Top