It’s Trichotillomania.

When Anxiety and OCD make you pull your hair out.

Alicia Rust


We’ve all heard it or have said it:

I’m so stressed/worried/frustrated that I’m pulling my hair out!

My son suffers from trichotillomania.

What a freakin’ long word.


For those of you who don’t suffer from this, it is the compulsion to pull your hair out. Oftentimes, it is due to anxiety…and sometimes the sufferer has a history of OCD. Only 1–2% of adults and adolescents even have this condition; my son won this jackpot.

In the Beginning

It first began in early 2015 when he was a 6th grader. I received an email at work letting me know that he had pulled out some of his hair; the teacher found some hair on the desk where he was sitting.

I thought it was odd to receive such an email. A little hair, no big deal. I wasn’t prepared, though, to see the full extent. Pulling through the carline at school dismissal, I see my boy walking briskly to the car; and my eyes take in the full scope of what has happened. Tears fight to be released, yet I desperately attempt to hold them in.

My son: 2015

I begin talking to him, asking about what had happened. He didn’t realize initially that he was doing it…it was an unconscious action. In the aftermath, his scalp is sore and the embarrassment sets it. Soon, medications were adjusted. Yes, he, too, suffers mental health struggles: anxiety, depression, ADD, and OCD.

I recall my younger brother having a slight issue with hair-pulling when we were young, but nothing that seemed to be a big issue; he got past it after a short while and it never returned.

Eventually, my son got past it too.

It subsided, and life reverted to normal.

November 2017

It began yet again.



Alicia Rust

Writer. Lover of dark chocolate, coffee, tea, & being me. I’m an anxiety-ridden, chronic depression survivor...