Trichotillomania, Dermatillomania & Autism
Many people have never heard of Trichotillomania or Dermatillomania.
These are two conditions that are known as "body - focused - repetitive - behaviours"
Trichotillomania is the compulsive pulling out of one's own hair from anywhere on the body including the head, eyelashes, arms, legs, pubic region etc.
Dermatillomania is the compulsive picking, scratching, rubbing, digging, biting and more of the skin in all regions across the body such as face, lips, fingers etc.
I have had Dermatillomania since the age of about four, and Trichotillomania since around ten years old.
Despite seeing just about every all different type of doctor, therapist, and alternative modalities, I have never found something that can help mitigate the compulsion.
Last year I had a consultation with a senior neurofeedback scientist who told me of her daughter's autism which involved for her the same compulsive behaviours.
I've spent some time researching the possible link between autism and BRFB's and whilst there is very little information out there, what I have found has helped shed light on my own symptoms and the possible connection to autism spectrum disorder.
I like to share about my hair-pulling and skin-picking because the more I do the more I receive messages from people who tell me that they never knew that these things had a name and they had always believed that they were alone in these behaviours.
I had no idea that my hair pulling and skin picking had a name until I came across an article in a newspaper one weekend perhaps fifteen years ago.
It was immensely relieving to know that there was a name for these things and that other people did them too - pulling out your hair is not something you tend to share publicly, in fact its something most people put enormous effort into concealing from others.
Learning more about these conditions and now discovering that they could be linked to a broader spectrum has been really helpful for me as it shines a new light on how and why I am the way I am and allows me to be more accepting of myself and less ashamed of my behaviour over which I have no control.
I shared more over on my substack page and you can read that here
I will continue to share more about these conditions as I have seen how helpful it can be to others.
If you have either of these conditions know you are not alone, and if you know someone who picks their skin or pulls their hair perhaps share this with them so they can begin to learn more.