Trichotillomania, Trich, is the chronic behavior of pulling out ones on hair. People with Trich generally pull their hair out absentmindedly while doing other things such as reading or watching TV. No one knows exactly what causes it. There is evidence that it is partly genetic in nature. Chronic Trich generally starts around puberty but can start as young as infancy. Trich may come and go throughout a person's entire life.
People with Trich are not trying to injure themselves or to purposefully damage their appearance. Though hair pulling sounds like it would be painful, individuals with Trich respond differently to the question, "Does it hurt?" Many report that hair pulling from specific areas of the body feels good. In fact, the pleasurable feelings contribute to their difficulty in stopping the behavior. Others describe the sensation as similar to scratching an itch, providing a feeling to relief, but feel compelled to pull anyway.
Most people with Trich spend a great deal of time worrying about and fixing their hair to cover their spots. Often, these people have been yelled at or punished for hair pulling, teased by schoolmates, and have avoided situations where their problem might be discovered.